US Rights Reaction on Bahrain Unwarranted


It is baffling that the US should put Bahrain alongside Iran and North Korea on the list of human rights violators to be scrutinized by the UN Human Rights Council.

It is no less surprising and disconcerting that this should have been done by the Obama administration at a time when the Kingdom has been steadily moving towards restoring normalcy. The US has been disturbed by the alleged arbitrary detentions, trial of doctors and expulsion of some students and staff from the University of Bahrain.

But while taking this obnoxious step, the US has overlooked a number of conciliatory measures the Kingdom has taken on the ground ranging from the lifting of the State of National Safety to offering to open a dialogue with the opposition of every hue without pre-conditions. Bahrain even announced the date [July 1] for the same to backing the move to take back a number of people sacked after it was established that they had taken part in anti-government activities.

The fact is that the opposition mouthpieces have got the ear of the US human rights observers and tend to see the Kingdom only through their tinted glasses. Thus, no amount ofrecorded evidence and documents provided by the Bahrain government. They seemed to cut the ice with them because they have already made up their minds to back the opposition case and come to their conclusions based on one-sided, twisted and doctored ‘evidence’.

One would like to ask, would doctors in a government-run hospital be allowed to stay in their jobs instead of being detained and questioned if they refused to treat the patients not belonging to their sect? There are exaggerations of the injuries and condition of others in front of TV correspondents of Iran to show how lethal the means used by the government .

One would also like to ask what would the US government do if some faculty members and students in the University of New York went on a rampage within the campus, vandalized computers, made a bonfire of the furniture and precious assets of the university and attacked fellow students not belonging to their sect or religion? Expel, try them or shake hands with them and welcome them with marigold garlands?

The point is, no one in Bahrain has yet been awarded any punishment in the court of law. The legal process is progressing. The government has certain evidence to show, including amateur mobile phone images, documents and eyewitness accounts. Like a proper legal process in any democratic country, the accused too are being given every opportunity to defend and justify their actions. Let the law take its own course rather than the US sitting on judgment on Bahrain even before that process is over.

Brij Sharma is an Indian journalist and editor based in Bahrain. Brij tells us the interesting stories we don’t usually hear from the middle east country.