Rights activists demand end to Al Khalifa crackdown on Bahrainis
Human rights activist have called for an immediate end to the ongoing heavy-handed crackdown on peaceful pro-democracy protesters in Bahrain, Press TV reports.
During a meeting in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, on Thursday, the participants sought to raise awareness about the flagrant human rights violations in the Persian Gulf kingdom, amid the brutal crackdown by the ruling Al Khalifa regime.
“The regime has been using an excessive amount of tear gas even throwing it into homes, to collectively punish groups for protests. They have been maiming protesters with bird shots, and they have also been torturing doctors, journalists, and even school children. So, these human rights abuses have been very rampant, and also have been worrisome. When it comes to the West, it is worrisome that the US continues to support this regime,” Amber Lyon, former CNN correspondent and a guest to the conference, said.
She added, “The main issue here to be discussed is a way to get everyone together, the human rights groups, the journalists, doctors from all over the world, and politicians to coalesce into a group that can come up with solutions.”
“The biggest issue, I think, facing Bahrain is the inability for people to communicate in person because we are not allowed to go to Bahrain. As a journalist, I have been blacklisted. I have been denied a visa. So, it is very difficult for all of us to come together as a group and discuss solutions. This conference offers us that opportunity and hope,” Lyon said.
The Bahraini revolution began in mid-February 2011, when the people, inspired by the popular revolutions that toppled the dictators of Tunisia and Egypt, began holding mass demonstrations.
The Bahraini government promptly launched a brutal crackdown on the peaceful protests and called in Saudi-led Arab forces to help quell the unrest.
Dozens of people have been killed in the crackdown, and Bahraini security forces have arrested hundreds, including doctors and nurses accused of treating injured protesters.
A report published by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry in November 2011 found that the Al Khalifa regime had used excessive force in the crackdown and accused Manama of torturing political activists, politicians, and protesters.
The protesters say they will continue holding anti-regime demonstrations until their demand for the establishment of a democratically elected government is met.