Doing the Right Thing in Bahrain | Freedom House

Doing the Right Thing in Bahrain

Huffington Post, by Sarah Trister and Husain Abdullah

In November an international commission organized and paid for by the Bahraini government found that there has been widespread and systematic abuses committed against protesters in the small gulf nation since uprisings began in February, 2011.

The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) was commissioned by Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa to examine alleged abuses that occurred in February and March of 2011. Made up of highly-renowned international legal experts, the commission's scope overlapped with investigations by numerous international and local NGOs into the widespread, and ongoing, crackdown that included torture of political prisoners, extra-judicial killings and detentions, military trials of civilians, the intentional demolition of religious sites, and the use of excessive force against unarmed civilians. The report corroborated these widespread abuses.

After an undoubtedly awkward public reading of the report findings, to which the government had invited numerous NGOs, foreign dignitaries, and members of the media, the King said he was dismayed by the findings and would create a commission to implement recommended reforms. The reforms outlined in the report are a positive step in the right direction, although the commission neglected to tackle the core issue causing the unrest: the lack of a representative, free, and fair political system. Moreover, leaving the reform effort solely in the hands of the very people responsible for committing the abuses seems contrary to the spirit of the commission.

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Follow Sarah Trister on Twitter at @SarahTrister.

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