A Bahrain parliamentary committee member, Mohsin Al Bakri, was recently quoted in the press as claiming that the inmates in Bahrain jails were getting better meals than prison guards. “Prisoners are being provided with a buffet and special meals, depending on their diet, from top caterers in Bahrain … They get three meals in recognition of their human rights,” he was quoted by the local daily GDN as saying.
This came about when some 20 MPs gathered last month for talks organised by parliament’s human rights committee. In the course of the event, they expressed outrage that some countries in the Middle East and Europe were determined to defame Bahrain no matter what the kingdom did in terms of justice, fair play and protection of human rights of those who violated the law by their acts and activities.
One MP, who spoke on condition of anonymity, was even quoted as naming the countries: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Cyprus, Greece, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. Another committee member, Khaled Al Shaer, alleged they unfairly targeted Bahrain at international forums by supporting dubious human rights organizations and activists and thus influencing votes of other countries if there is a ballot.
The MPs asked human rights groups to visit Bahrain to see for themselves the ground situation. Indeed when UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) Prince Zeid Al Hussein expressed concern about Bahrain’s rights record at a recent Geneva meeting, Bahrain promptly invited him to Bahrain and visit without let or hindrance any and all facilities and places about which his informants may have expressed reservations.
The MPs were no less peeved by the fact that organisations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch had issued more damning reports about Bahrain than about Iraq or Syria which are universally known hotbeds of terror and suppression.
Human Rights Watch has issued eight reports and five communiqués against Bahrain since January. Amnesty International has issued seven reports. In contrast, the two bodies have issued just six reports against Syria and Iraq put together, leaving Bahraini MPs wondering how come Bahrain was being painted as a bigger violator than Iraq and Syria where thousands have been killed, gassed and turned into refugees.
At the same time the two organisations have consistently ignored or underplayed murder of policemen and injuries caused to 7,000 security officers. 88 of them suffering more than 80% disability.
One can understand Iran, Iraq, Syria or Lebanon trying to denigrate Bahrain. Especially since they are known for their anti-Bahrain rhetoric, and harbour anti-Bahraini elements. In addition, Bahraini thugs continue to visit those countries for training to create chaos in Bahrain on their return.
The European countries’ anti-Bahrain leanings could only be explained on the ground that a number of anti-Bahrain youth and their self-styled leaders gravitate towards those countries to seek asylum or find sympathisers who pile up lies with rights organisations. The latter swallow lies unquestioningly since it suits them to project a country in poor light since it steadfastly stood up against the winds of the so-called Arab Spring.
Any truthful and impartial rights body would do well to look at both sides of a coin and draw conclusions applying their own mind and logic rather than converting the bogus pronouncements of anti-government thugs living in exile as respectable dissidents into reports and Pressnotes.
To verify the Bahrain version of facts they ought to visit the kingdom and take up the government offer of allowing them free access to problem areas. One wonders if they’ll choose to do that since that might take the wind out of their balloons of lies.