The Role of Human Rights Violation in the Recent Tensions in Bahrain
By: Mahsa Mohammad Zadeh, Researcher
While tracing the causes of internal conflicts (in a country), certain issues such as economic, political, judicial and cultural crises and problems are to be analyzed as the chief factors leading to the emergence of tensions. Also, the Human Rights issue will have to be considered of great significance in this regard, needing to be surveyed in various economic, political, cultural and social dimensions by the concerned world organizations, ultra – national associations, states and all other bodies involved in this arena. In this age of globalized communications in particular, people in certain countries embark upon demanding their basic rights, which matter cause emergence of a number of conflicts.
In the past months, Bahrain has been the scene of successive conflicts between the majority of the people and the government. Regarding the causes leading to these conflicts, experts have pointed out various factors including the economic and political ones, while careful analysis of the factual conditions reveal that the most effective causes should be sought in the human rights issues, which rights have been stipulated in U.N. Charter and certain other international documents.
In Bahrain, the Ale – Khalifah family, since coming to power in 1783 has been suppressing the Shi'a, preventing the pious people from taking on key offices. According to reports by international bodies, more and more cases of severe violation of human rights in Bahrain are witnessed every day, particularly since 1990s and most particularly since late 1994 and the expansion of political – social unrests there.
While, in the constitution of Bahrain any kind of discrimination is considered unlawful, and justice and equity, including equal job opportunities for all have been valued, discriminatory policy based on nepotism, power and groupism has been institutionalized in the ruling system in Bahrain during these years. Thus, it is obvious that the present ruling body in Bahrain is based upon discrimination and one family and group lording over the people.
In Bahrain the Shi'as comprise about 70 percent of the population, while their share of high–level positions in the country is less than 18 percent. In most ministries and governmental offices in Bahrain, there is no Shi'a in key posts, while article 16 of Bahrain's constitution stipulates that the citizens are to be given equal shares in taking on jobs. And as expressed in most reports on violation of human rights, in Bahrain, jobs which involve security and military matters are not given to individuals on the basis of their competence, but rather are based on discriminatory appointments.
Also, in Bahrain unemployment is increasing, and the Shi'as make up 95 percent of the unemployed in that country. It is to be noted that those political activists who protest against these discriminatory, oppressive policies are constantly suppressed, deprived of even ordinary jobs, and their names put on the black list of job–seekers in Bahrain. These are obviously in contradiction with article 2 of the human rights declaration which regards as violation of human rights any discrimination on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity and colour and also in contradiction with article 35 of U.N. Charter which stipulates that all citizens are entitled to participate in the process of running public affairs either directly or through free election of representatives. Besides in Bahrain there is no political freedom, in particular freedom of expression.
Thus we can conclude that all such violations of human rights result in increasing dissatisfaction of the citizens. According to the theory presented by Robert Goore, people's dissatisfaction with and deprivation of part of their rights can play a key role in the emergence of conflicts, which will probably increase if the people's dissatisfaction is with their basic rights, causing conflicts with their governments? This theory can be applied in the case of analyzing the uprisings in Bahrain.
Now, taking into consideration such views and events, we should survey the question as to how far such tensions can be prevented in future through abiding by the contents of the U.N. Charter and universal declaration of Human Rights.