The Difficult Challenge:
Providing Security and Respecting Human Rights

The events that have taken place in Bahrain have disturbed the security of the country and violated human rights. These two issues represent a challenge to State institutions, the civil society organizations and the active political forces. Theoretically, everybody is against disturbing the security or violating human rights, but in practice human rights have been placed second to security. We believe that security and stability can be achieved without undermining human rights.

Protecting the security of the country is a necessity for human rights but cannot replace it. The security of the country should not be at the expense of human rights. It is difficult to balance the need for security and respect for human rights. Whenever political circumstances become tense, balancing these two issues and controlling human rights breaches becomes a difficult task. The authorities emphasise the importance of security and prioritise it over human rights. On the other hand, the advocates of democracy and human rights emphasise the idea that the failure to respect human rights and the increase in violations will ultimately lead to instability.

It is a difficult equation.

Instability and security tension directly affect human rights because they have a negative impact on the right to life, freedom and physical safety. Instability is an important factor in undermining the role of civil society by restricting its activities or politicizing it. This results in civil society institutions losing their value. Instability also undermines social and economic development and negatively affects the comprehensive application of human rights.

As is the case in many countries, Bahrain has faced the challenge of adhering to human rights standards during these political crisis and security tensions. The challenges include the possibility of undermining the security of individuals, which is a fundamental right. The occurrence of violations in this regard such as mistreatment, the decrease in the margin of freedom of expression, restricting civil society organizations, will have a negative effect on the rule of law, Good Governance and human rights.

This highlights that stability, protecting the security of the country and respecting human rights are intertwined. We cannot defend one at the expense of the other. Without security, human rights are lost, and without human rights, security cannot be attained. For these reasons, the international human rights law obliges the all countries to take necessary procedures to protect security not only through the wise use of force but by confronting political, economic, cultural, and social problems, which would Sprovide the necessary environment for instability and provoke the public into aggravating the situation.

This means that it is the duty of the State to accomplish two things together: protect the security of the country and provide social services and political and economic rights. This can only be achieved through respecting human rights. Moreover, the State needs to control the actions of the law enforcement bodies in accordance with national legislations and laws. Human rights should always be well protected especially during major crisis.

There is an inseparable bond between human rights and security. For respecting the rule of law and human rights are both essential to official and public efforts to provide security and combating outlaws.

Security can be regarded as a priority when it protects the lives, properties and dignity of citizens, but only if this is achieved in accordance to Islamic rulings, local laws and human rights principles. But when means outside these are used, this will have a negative impact and the opposite effects. In such cases, the price of stability is very high and will be short-lived. The objectives of prioritizing security cannot be achieved without taking into consideration human rights. Failing to do so will reflect negatively on the security of the country.

Taking effective measures to impose law and order on one hand, and protecting human rights on the other hand, are not conflicting issues but complement one another.