Brussels Conference Launches Book Revealing Shocking Facts about Discrimination against Shia in Bahrain
AhlulBayt News Agency - The organizing committee of the international two-day conference on "Persecution of Shia in Bahrain", organized by Salam for Democracy and Human Rights and No Peace without Justice, launched a book revealing human rights violations practiced against the Shia in Bahrain. The conference kicked off on Saturday (April 22, 2016). Parliamentary institutions and bodies, organizations, law experts and think tanks took part in this conference held in the Belgian capital, Brussels.
The published book on Shia Persecution in Bahrain compiles shocking figures and facts disclosing the state of religious discrimination and persecution in Bahrain. The total number of religious freedom violations committed in the country reached 578, and 38 mosques were demolished. The book also tackles the arbitrary dismissal of employees from the private and public sectors that reached 4539 dismissals over politically-motivated reasons. It further revealed that Shia representation in the judiciary authority is only 12%, meanwhile, the report on religious freedoms by the US Department of State indicated that the Shia citizens constitute more than 60% of Bahraini population.
The book highlighted that the costs of housing requests made by the politically naturalized citizens exceeds 2 billion and 289 million BD; which is equal to 6 billion and 70 million US dollars. Meanwhile, there are more than 53,000 housing requests at a rate of 4,000 annually. Shia are also deprived of taking charge of their religious endowments directorates (waqf), Shia athletes are persecuted and Shia students are also deprived of scholarships and educational rights. 33% of high-ranking students were deprived of scholarships.
Figures reveal that one third of the Northern Province (Shia villages) are still without drainage systems. The authorities did not commit to building 37% of the demolished mosques. Meanwhile, the violations in Ashura in 2015 reached 169. This, in addition to insulting the Shia sect and inciting hatred against its adherents during Friday sermons. The book also sheds light on the deliberate negligence and sabotage of the heritage and historic Shiite sites, not to mention the security forces' insults and abuses against Shia citizens in torture chambers.
The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry highlighted the issues of inciting hatred, abuse of laws, discrimination against Shia, use of sectarian language and insults against detainees and religious figures, noting that many cases of torture and ill-treatment took place for the purpose of sectarian discrimination. Recommendation 1724 called on the authorities to take concrete measures to prevent incitement of violence and hatred.
The USCIRF had devoted a part of its 2013 annual report to Bahraini-related issues and severely criticised a number of cases. The report also documented media campaigns that used sectarian language against a certain sect of the society. Also, the US Department of State considered in its 2013 annual report that one of the major problems in Bahrain is discrimination against Shia citizens. For its part, the British Parliament expressed its concern regarding the ongoing media campaigns that foster sectarian hatred in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office 2012 report.