State of emergency and foreign military intervention will lead to further crackdown on the opposition

15/03/2011
Press release
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Whilst the Kingdom of Bahrain just declared a state of emergency, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) condemns the military intervention of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in the Kingdom of Bahrain to protect government facilities against the protesters.

The arrival of the troops follows a request to members of the Gulf Co-Operation Council (GCC) from Bahrain, whose Sunni rulers have faced weeks of protests and growing pressure from a majority Shia population to institute political reforms.

FIDH believes that the claim raised by both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia that Iran might stand behind the ongoing protests from the Shia opposition in the Kingdom led to a very weak reaction of the US, which has called for restraint, but has refrained from saying whether it supports the move to deploy troops.

Opposition groups in Bahrain have made it clear that the entry of any soldier or military machinery into the Kingdom of Bahrain’s air, sea or land territories is a blatant occupation and that protesters are determined to oppose this military interference.

Furthermore, the state of emergency will give exceptional powers to the security apparatus and may result in the systematization of human rights violations such as arbitrary detention for anyone who might be considered « a danger to public security » and torture.

FIDH fears that the presence of foreign armies inside Bahrain may lead to an escalation of violence.

FIDH urges the Bahraini authorities as well as their military allies from the GCC to refrain from any violence against unarmed civilian protesters.

FIDH calls upon the Government of Bahrain to ask the foreign troops to leave its territory without delay and engage in dialogue with the opposition, which shall not take place under such tense circumstances.

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