HRW criticizes proposal for Bahrain-based pan-Arab HR court

TEHRAN, Sep. 8 (MNA) – A Human Rights Watch official criticized an Arab League decision to set up a pan-Arab human rights court in Bahrain.

“The establishment of a glitzy new court won’t disguise the fact that Bahrain has a dismal and worsening record in that regard,” Nicholas McGeehan, Gulf researcher with Human Rights Watch, told Reuters.

U.S.-allied Bahrain’s human rights record has come under scrutiny over its handling of unrest since anti-government protests broke out in early 2011.

The kingdom, ruled by the Sunni Al Khalifa family and the base for the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, was behind a proposal to create the Arab Human Rights Court.

No details have been issued about the mandate and powers of the court and how judges would be appointed, but the Bahraini Foreign Ministry said last year that experts from the Arab League would write its charter.

Bahrain’s main opposition group has also criticized the decision, saying the Persian Gulf Arab state was the “black hole of human rights.”

Bahrain’s Shia Al-Wefaq movement said Manama’s hosting of the court cast doubt on the credibility of the tribunal.

“Al-Wefaq revealed that there are more than 55 types of human rights violations that have been perpetrated by the regime in Bahrain against citizens, including natural and fundamental human rights,” the group said on its website. “This entrenches the idea of Bahrain being the human rights black hole.”

Since mid-February 2011, thousands of pro-democracy protesters have staged numerous demonstrations in the streets of Bahrain, calling for the Al Khalifa royal family to relinquish power.

On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates invaded the country to assist the Bahraini government in its crackdown on the peaceful protesters.

According to local sources, scores of people have been killed and hundreds arrested.

By Mehr News Agency


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