Held in Beirut - 23 November 2018.
Sheikh Maytham Al Salman, President of the Bahrain Interfaith Cultivating Harmony and Bahrain Center for Human Rights Advisor, participated in the press conference held at the Lancaster Hotel Beirut on Friday, 2018/11/23, to attend the parliamentary elections to be held in Bahrain on Saturday, 24/11/2018.
Salman said that the parliamentary elections, which will take place Saturday, in an atmosphere of non-democratic and repressive environment, can not achieve the aspirations of citizens in Bahrain, in the manufacture of desired sovial and political stability. He added that the insistence of the Authority in Bahrain to move forward with the parliamentary elections without human rights and political reforms, while refusing to adopt the principle of dialogue to reach national consensus, has serious damage to the economic, political and social environment.
Salman pointed out that the international attitudes that have been issued in the past months and weeks, from many parts of the European Union, and its Parliament, the United States and the United Kingdom, confirm Bahrain's need for the logic of dialogue and national reconciliation instead of the logic of repression and the violation of human rights violations. Almost forty deputies in the European Parliament said: they hoped that the upcoming elections would have an opportunity to ease tensions and allow for open dialogue rather than enacting increasingly repressive measures.
He also pointed out that international positions are in line with the popular conviction in Bahrain of all components that the holding of elections in this oppressive and undemocratic environment can not contribute to addressing the human rights and political deterioration in the country. On the contrary, he affirmed that the elections in These bad conditions leave Bahrain far from dialogue and national reconciliation. I fear that the elections will be a gateway to further human rights violations and illegal restrictions on public freedoms.
He added that elections can not succeed, in light of the severe human rights deterioration and the suffocating political environment, and the blocking of the horizon of civil liberties.
At a time when more than 14,000 detainees, including children and women, have been subjected to arbitrary arrests since 2011, the security authorities continue to carry out arbitrary arrests, such as former MP Ali al-Ashiri, He was arrested for disturbing the elections on Tuesday (November 13, 2018) after a tweet at the social networking site Twitter, in which he exercised his legitimate right to freedom of expression and criticized political isolation.
He added that no country in the world can succeed in elections unless it creates political stability. But in the presence of more than 4000 detainees, against the background of the political crisis, hundreds of projected their nationalities, and the prevalence of human rights violations in all joints of the state. Denying the opposition to participate in parliamentary elections makes the entire election a play that can not convince the international community and observers of the claims of democracy.
We have seen this week that some parties have been forced to intimidate the electoral districts. This contravenes legal and constitutional rules. The option of participation or boycott is a right that does not have an obligation in return, and freedom of the individual is free either by participation or boycotts. If the freedom of the citizen is confiscated and forced to participate in the elections, the elections have lost their integrity and have become unreliable.
Salman pointed out that one of the most important problems facing the electoral process is the existence of an unfair electoral system. The current electoral system does not include fair electoral districts that achieve equality between citizens and the universal principle of elections.
The Riffa area, for example, controls 6 parliamentary seats. This means that Riffa (Southern Governorate) controls 15% of the House of Representatives, while in the Northern Governorate there are 40 districts. Hamad City, which secures only 12 deputies, and the capital province consists of 47 districts and produce only 10 deputies.
It is also evident from the comparison between some of the districts in the following governorates: The tenth district in the southern governorate has 1608 voters, while the seventh constituency of Muharraq Governorate is 15363, which means that one circle represents 10% of another constituency, an electoral equation unparalleled in the world. These elections do not promote the spirit of equal citizenship, and the votes are not equal according to the principle of the voice of every citizen, and this confirms the government's failure to build a fair electoral system.
Al-Salman also pointed out the importance of currency monitoring to highlight the locations of imbalances and legal violations in order to reduce the size of the area, be it legal or human practice of those involved in the electoral administration, and therefore should be independent organizations and institutions, This is not available in the electoral process in Bahrain. It is not permissible to monitor the performance of the party concerned with the organization of the elections, and that the monitoring shall be on the candidate and the voter only.
The Authority also attended international or international media, covering the process of the process and monitoring the elections. Why is the Bahraini government afraid of international observers and the international media?
Salman made the following recommendations:
- Forming an independent committee with the participation of civil society institutions to manage the electoral process.
- . Re-distribution of the constituencies in a fair manner, consistent with international standards and achieving balance and equality in the electoral vote among citizens, according to the principle of the voice of every citizen, or make Bahrain a single circle.
- Achieving the principle of separation of powers, enabling the legislative authority to play its role away from the hegemony of the executive branch.
- To seek political consensus, through direct dialogue with all factions of the people, to ensure their participation in the elections, within the framework of the national reconciliation project to achieve comprehensive political reform, and then to provide the United Nations with assistance through its supervision of the elections.
- Abolish the project of political isolation, enable all citizens to participate freely and effectively in the electoral process, cancel the decisions of dissolving political societies and give them real space, the freedom of political action, and the release of political leaders.
- Release all prisoners of conscience, stop violations, put an end to the policy of impunity, and hold accountable those responsible for violations.
- Immediate implementation of the recommendations of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry and the Universal Periodic Review in 2012 and 2017.
- Achieve the highest levels of international control over the electoral process.
- To legislate a law guaranteeing the competence of the electoral process, administered by an independent body and allowing international organizations to monitor the elections.
- Abolish all legislation and decisions that restrict public freedoms, violate the rights of citizenship, or undermine freedom of assembly and association.
- Abolish legislation and laws that confiscate the right to vote and run for office.
- Cancellation of public electoral centers.
- Allow the formation of political opposition parties and their work without hindrance.
- Transparent handling of the publication of the list of voters and electoral blocs.
- Suspending the media coverage in the official media and implementing recommendation 1724 in the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry.
Sheikh Maytham Salman
President of Bahrain Interfaith Cultivating Harmony and Bahrain Center for Human Rights Adviso