One Day Conference titled Overdue change in the Middle East The case of Bahrain

First session
Jalal Fairooz, chairman
Today we mark 6th anniversary of Bahrain’s Revolution.
Six years ago people revolted to achieve better future for Bahrain. The country has seen black days, atrocitieis. People suffered too much. Situation has worsened, more killings, bloodshed. People are victims and we we want to see how we can support them.
We need to explore ideas to help them.
There is live coverage of this event on tv channels.
We have two themes; how we can strive to achieve real change. Speakers will highlight the need for legitimate change; self-determination, new constitution, political system based on “one man one vote” system
Second theme how to challenge the HR situation.
Over 200 recommendations by international community to stop atrocities, none of the serious ones have been implemented. We want to see how we can make Bahraini regime abide by those recommendations.
Lately there have been killings outside the rule of law, torture. A number of political detaines killed under torture.
For past months Duraz under siege with 25000 people.
We are here to explore how to speed this change.
We will have three sessions; keynote speakers, a political and human rights sessions

Keynote speakers
Professor Rodney Shakespeare, political and economic analst
I believe as percentage of population in the street, Bahrain is the top.
It was centred in \Pearl Square. They kicked people in the face. That has been going on ever since. Pearl Square is significant. It has pearl in it which was the backbone of economy. More closely, the symbol has six supports representing GCC countries. On one hand when Square was destroyed they shot themselves in the foot. They will never destroy it. The pearl is in the heart of the people. GCC will in time be destroyed.
Do we carry on as we are?
Is there something new?
When you hear people talking of Saudis occupying Bahrain. Often somebody somewhere will say it is to do with interest. It is not true.
200 years ago, there were revolutions and troubles in South America. UK decided to supp;ort people’s uprising against Spanish Empire. UK traded with Argentina.
The strategy should not be around interests.
Whose interests are being interests?
Arms manufacturers.
If you have economic democracy you can gurantee the deals with the country.
Present strategy is corrupt, about im;perial mindset, It is also about supporting axis of evil; Saudi, Israel, USA. We supported Qatar and others because they support Zionist entity. That is the deal between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
Destroying that symbol, Alkhalifa shot themselves in the foot.
My recommendation is to overcome the argument of economic interest.

Stephen Bell: Stop the war coalition
Greetings from Stop the ‘war coalition to the conference.
I will be talking about how coalition estimate a new political alliance in the Gulf after Trump’s presidency. Our estimate is that when he says America First, we expect more intervention in ME. On Syria there will be a shift. Trump made a virtue of saying that US foreign policy is unpredictable. The shift are conditioned by the unpredictability of US policy.
He stated that he wanted no fly zone in Syria. He refuses to clarify this. Most likely will be Turkish support. Much more important is shift on issue of Iran. His analysis is that nuclear deal is worst ever. They say that they are putting Iran on notice. They will be unfriendly. They say that Iran has taken over Yemen.
Trump will take US administration nearer to Saudi Arabia.
In first week of presidency half billion dollar arms deal with Saudi
Also shift in policy towards China. Confrnting ing China is real.
Trump’s statements on Syria is not acceptable to UK.
Teresa May said at GCC summit that change in Syria is essential. But UK can do little.
Shift on issue of Iran is bigger problem for Teresa May. UN, EU, Russia and China are part of it and it will not be priority for UK. The UK gov has been less critical towards Saudi war on Yemen or investigation of vilation of international humanitarian law.
Support of Saudi is based on the suggestion that Iran is threat in Gulf.
British gov wants to maintain strong relation with China.
UK already signed to the pivot of confronting chian. It established base in Bahrain to support this.
WE can see shift of US will be supported by UK. Brexit threw UK’s affairs in the air. It will be more dependent on US. Nostaglic section of UK which longs for Empire will re-assert itself.
FCO says HR in Bahrain from July to December is mixed picture. They say dissolution of Wefaq, arrest of Nabeel, prevention of HR activists from Geneva, revocation of citizenship, Blocake of Duraz. Capital punishment carried out. It is not mixed picture. It is hooro story.
So what is the positive part? UK talk of various institutions that are ineffecitive. There is increase in repression, torture widespread. They talk in terms of ombudsmen. The result remains generalised repression.
\Immediate policy of UK is to apologise for this repression. WE must review the alliances we need to have in UK to make a difference.

Tara O’grady
Stuggle for peace.
There is no adherence to HR principles. Three young men executed three weeks ago. They had four bullets each, not one. They shot one time. If they survive it they survive.
It is perverse against UN laws or Sharia law.
I urge to continued struggle for HR, as we did in Northern Ireland.
We had many occasions of violence, and it is also happening in Bahrain.
There are dark days ahead. This is on the cards. It does not mean we are afraid or that we won’t resist. When we have faith, we have broader prospect for humanity.
Everyone of the women have given sacrivices
Patience of Bahrainis in phenomenal.
Try to keep strength, not to be distracted by pro-regime institutions.
We should not waste energy on useless efforts.
With Apartheid in South Afica opposition petitioned those coutnreis that were doing business in South Africa. This is about finanancil stability in the region. Give them assurances.
If there is regime change, there will more stability and windows for more conomic prosperity.
We are at time when UK is busy with Bexit. Europe wants to build relations with ME.
The CAAT and others need to be engaged.
With regards to |Irish gov I am disappointed how they cooperated with Gulf regimes. Police tortured political prisoners. Do civil society feel there would be change in Bahrain? The absolute opposite has happened.
I will speak with my government and trade unions to inform them of what is happening.
We need to work as unified opposition, not as individual bodies repeating the same work. For the sake of common understanding there is need for unity among activists

Dr Ali Qabbany; journalist, political analyst
The main goal of this conference is to remind the world of the just cause of Bahraini people. The case is similar to other Arab countries. Bahrainis rose in Feb 2011 to demand dignity, sovereignty and to shape the future. IN 21st century Bahrainis refused to live in old centuries.
PM of Bahain was there before Cameron was born. This is example of tyranny and dictatorship in Arab world especially Bahrain.
|People are struggleing against counter revolution represented by Alkhalifa, and regionally represented by Saudi Arabia which wants everyone around them weak. They are afraid of democracy in Bahrain or \yemen. They said they would not allow democracy in those countries. Saudi army never left the country except to fight pro democracy in Bahrain or \yemen.
Case of Bahrain is just. They want major powers to adhere to international law and not to help tyrant of Bahrain/
Beside Saudi Arabis is GCC which comprises sheikhs of the gulf to oppress their people. The other thing is Arab mercenaries to protect regimes not the people.
A major change needs to happened in Arab countries. Bahrain is our case today.
What can we do to help Bahrain?
We have to call on the world to addrss the crisis.
We need to speak to the Parliament. We should say to our government to stop arming Alkhalifa or train their officers.
We have to address media worldwide and show them atrocities committed by regime.
People who live in different parts of the world will help.
Major powera are saying they are protecting their interests. These interests will be protected more if they cooperate with the people.
We can see that the struggle in Bahrain is still peaceful despite their losses, torture, extrajudicial killing.
We have to remind the world that enough is enough and to put limit to tyranny. WE cannot just raise slogans.
This is the action plan; reminding public opinion, talking to western government and working for change in the Arab countries. Football legend, Abu Traika, is now declared a terrorist because he refused to meet the president and take photo with him.
WE are all called terrorists by Arab regimes because we fight for our rights.
Jim Curran; HR activists, member of anti war coalition
I have campaigned in UK for 50 years within irish Civlised Association.
When you have revolution in 2011 we, Irish, got involved in the campaign. Regime arrested nurses and doctors. One of our members had his son arrested. I contacted Sinn Feinn about it. Our members questioned PM about Bahrain.
This week
Tariq Al Hassan was taken to Belfast to learn how they targeted Irish campaigners, how they tortured them, water boarding, rubber bullets. I visited Parliament and aske our Irish members to raise this issue again.
They are going to take the case of what happens in Bahrain.

First Session
Jiwon Choi
Political and social situation.
It is presented as Sunni Shia conflict.
Alkhalifa ruled country for past 230 years by conquest.
They are immigrants who came to this land and created entity for themselves.
Focussing on this fact I want to argue that poltical situation is coloured by this conquest than sectarianism
I want to compare the situation with Israel.
To understand settler colonism. You come to settle and you find people there before you. What do you do?
You are not here to share things with others but to build your own society. What you do is to remove these people and kick them out. To erase history and heritage of those people. You don’t want anything of the past.
These are similar strategies of Israelis and Alkhalifa.
The local history of both countries erased and streets are changed.
Whether Shia or Arabs you do not want them.
Now you realise it is not possible to remove people. So you are always surrounded by people whose land you have stolen. You are always suspicious of those people, they are your enemies. You are concerened with security all the time. They may attack you from behind you do not put them in security or mlitray positions. You bring mercenaries from outside and spend money on them. This is what happened to Palestinians and Bahrainis.
You also give them citizenship. It is always easier to marignalise minorities.
Since late 19th centuries, jews settled in Palestine. At first Alkhalifa brought tribal allies from Saudi Arabia. They were brought because they shared tribal backgrounds with Alkhalifa. Hamad did this since 2000. Granting citizenship is widespread. The natives had their citizenship revoked.
When I met an Egyptian two years I asked him if he wanted citizenship. At first bahrini law did not allow dual citizenship. Then Bahraini official contacted him and told him that law as changed and that he could obtain the barhini citizenship.
Offering passport does not gurantee loyalty. You cannot offer them housing or work especially in difficult situation. This leads to more division of society. Many aspects of similarities between Israel and Bahrain.
I visited Israel and Bahrain in 2013 and found people’s demands and complainst similar in both countries.
Khalifa Jabran said:

Catherine Shakdam
Country and culture belongs to native Bahrainis
Bahrain is victim of its geography. Because it sets in between Iran and Saudi araiba it pays a price. The situation is complicated by sectarianism. Conflict in Bahrain is marred by confusion and sectarianism. Only because Riyadh decided to use sectarianism.
Shia Muslims is reality, we need to term with this reality.
Islam speaks about equality not nepotism.
Saudis do not understand theory of freedom
We need to look at Bahrain in terms of control, rights, freedom. Can it become free?
UK and others may lose control over the peninsula. Yemen is at war, barhain is being targeted because Uk
Democracy and HR are compromised in Bahrain.
People have been executed, immigrants stripping natives off their citizenship. AlsAud family tries to forced themselves in order to spread their form of autocracy. Shia Islam disturbs their hegemony and tyranny.
The rhetoric and theory threatens sa. It is struggle of tryannya vs liberatin.
Mosques were destroyed. People have been banned from speaking out. Sheikh Isa Qassim has been repressed and is under threat of arrest and deportation.
We need to realise Saudis are pulling the strings. They are seeting there because UK felt tha their interest would be compromised.
Bahrain will be free regardless of what happens.
It will be terrible if Bahrainis are pushed to violence.
Saudis and Alkjhalifa want to push for violence to jsutiyf their oppression and
We need to rembmer that the values that we have must be given to other people. Saudi Arabia is root of evil of tyranny.
They want Shia and Sunni to feel disfranchised.
If you loo at Arab countries the situation is different.
Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Iran wants to stand up to see people stand up for themselves.
Saudi Arabia want people to live in fear. Religious minorities live in fear and considered apostates.
Genocide in Bahrain is rampant. When culture and identity are threatened and denied then this is genocide. This is what Saudis are doing in Yemen and Bahrain.
We have to have courage of our opinions. Can we make billions on the blood of people?
They are not human when they torture people and execute them and not allow families to bury their sons.
Teresa May is shooting in the foot. She stands on wrong side of history.
We need to stop ourselves on religious levels.
We are standing

International Federation of Human Rights FIDH
We were created in 1922. All states are accountable for their human rights commitments
My job is connecting HR activists with institutions of EU. Russia, Cuba etc
We work with Gulf Centre for Human Rights, Bahrain Centre for
European Union’s action on Bahrain.
I want to characterise EU approach on Bahrain
1-EU principles on HR are clear. EU treaty says that action is guided by democracy, HR. 2012 was the year when EU thought it could work on Arab Sprign

Relations with Bahrain are controlled by EU GCC based on 1988
GCC supplies 6 percent of EU
Relations cover wide aspect of life. It is only agreement EU has with region that does not state democracy and HR are at centre of relations.GCC did not accept this
Third aspect.
There is no real info on Bahrain’s HR in EU. Facts are known. EU adopted 9 resolutions on Bahrain since 2011. Next Thursday there will be one more.
Those reolutions never altered EU diplomacy on the country.
For next two years, UK will remain and sets lowest standards on Bahrain.
There have been some statements by EU
There was statement on ex;ecutions.
Even few ones that mention N|abeel Rajab there is no explicit call for his release. RE-arrest of Nabeel Rajab can only represent obstacle in relations, but not specific call for his release.
When 28 states are united there is result.
In 2014 HR Council states agreed on statement, It led to cancellation odif meeting.
We were saying this is golden opportunity, you have to be in position of force, and have to present HR on the table, but EU did not go that far.. They continued business as usual.
In mid 2017 another conference in Bahrain.
EU has private diplomacy but it leads to no result.
EU and member states believed that smoke screen bodies are not real or effective. Ombudsmean received EU prize in 2014.
Another characteristic is setting up dialogue meeting on HR. We are sceptical about this and our conclusion is that these dialogues are useful only if there is a will. These dialogues are not road to create political will. WE see m ore deterioration.
Bahrainis are active in Brussells. They have storng PR. They invited MEPs to monitor 2014 elections.
There is almost impossibility for EU to addrss |HR condition in Bahrain.
We have to use all entry doors.
Small recommendations:
Good for Bahrainis stood in reference to international HR law. It is important to refer to this law.
There is need to present \HR solution. It is about securing citizens rights in those countries. It is important that people of Bahrain ally with outside people. WE must use HR framework to encourage others to take up the cause, use of media. Must work to raise awareness. Targeted sanctions on HR violators. It can be campaigning tool. Let us not forget arms export and HR repression. Legal basis is there. Exports of surveillance technology, tear gas.

Session 3
Chair: Alaa Shehabi

Joe Dwyer Sinn Fein
We are fighting an election in Ireland
We extend our support to this conference and to people of Bahrain who are marking 6 years of resistance against sectarian regime.
We have long history of resistance
British government officials have ignored the victims of Alkhalifa repression
Use of rubber and live bullets by police
Mohammad Al Jaziri, 17, was shot on 12th feb 2012 by tear gas canister. He was beaten as he laid down. He was denied treatment. With help of Irish and Bahraini doctors his eye was saved. This is exampled of \Irish-Bahraini solidarity.
We are still fighting that British state addresses the situation in Northern Ireland,
Bahraini senior commanders are in Belfast these days for training.
We always raise the case of Bahrainis at Irish \parliament. Recent executions were raised by our MPs.
We will continue to support Bahrainis. We helped to mark Martyr’s day.
We will always lend resistance to those who need it.
Sinn Fein is important party participating in six elections in Northern Ireland. The Peace |Process has facilitated our aims.
May I say that the Day of Bahraini people will come.

Tara O’grady
Your struggle is similar to our own.
I brought Hassan Ali Radhi to attend annual bar meeting to expose him to Sinn Fein. They have been intimidated for long. So they welcomed the Bahraini people. All martyrs and refugees are assets, don’t lose it. There is no real prospect of success if you take these mad people and politicians to court then you are wasting your time. They have immunity.

Maryam AlKhawaja:
For change in Bahrain there needs to be change in the region
One issue is connecting social movements. How to create common grounds in the regioin.
MANY minority groups even in west are under attack.
We look at what we have been using over past 6 years. HR is no longer effective. Even countries which pretended to support HR are not welcoming. The best way to fight terrorism and extremism is to connect with other movements. Bombing people creates more extremism.
Two things to look at: business and human rights.
How to push businesses to put pressure on governments.
Human Rights.
We in Bahrain Watch have focussed on companies supplying Bahrain; hacking and internet and spying technology. The battle is always in London, US. We are pressing these companies to think twice about exporting their products.

Mark Own Jones
I was born in Bahrain so I am a Bahraini welsh
The notion of Fake news
Brexit makes UK more independent but more dependent on Gulf asset.
Truth is first casualty of war.
What we need to do is to be vigilant about the truth.
One of the things I am interested in is legal challenges. It requires you to provide legal evidence. We took Gov to court about Ian Henderson. This exposes the public to the official narrative.
The FCO statement in your pack shows that FCO is indifferent to democracy.
If FCO continues to use argument about |HR improvement if power of arrest are returned to NSA.
British gov needs the pretence of reform in Bahrain. UK ends up more PR work to cover its policy on Bahrain.

Pavelle Pinkala
We have small office in Brussells.

EU is complicated.
Resolutionos, statements may not produce immediate result. They send message to people on the ground. They may build up pool of evidence for advocacy purposes.
There is proposal to control export of spyware.
We need to have restrictions on export and trade.

Workshops reports:
Mohsin Abbas (Media)
BBC does not represent Bahraini case. Its charter must be approached and question representation. Obligation to inform and entertain. AS public service orgaanisation It needs to be focussed on. Too many of these campaigns are duplicating work.
Dr Omar:
We propose two groups: one inside and one outside it. Take images and send them to these groups. We should teach our friends how to explain our issues. There are misunderstandings.
Important to activate Hyde Park outlet
Jim Curran; the branding and marketing your case is important. Being aware of existing events you may gain access. Individuals can be very effective.
Shahina:
Target psychologically. Keep it simple.
Don’t go to BBC directly, go to national newspapers directly.
Two training workshops. Professionals must train others. Skills we have within protest movement must be shared

Rohe Rizvi
Uniting to be progressive is important.
Any activism is short-lived if we don’t make it progressive. It is important to highlight problem to other people.
We had to drop barriers.
Representation and engaging via letters. We need to repres

ent ourselves. We had engaged with our MPs through letters.
Sessions in Parliament: If we continue doing it it will create more awioareness.
Engaging with petition sites. Highlight issues with Reprieve. We could use prominent personalities.
Securing appointment with MPs. You can inform them about things they are not aware of.
Social media activism; facebook, twitter
If you are not inclined to those media get someone to teach you.
We could reverse the narrative; use arms trade to show where people’s taxes are going.
Reiterating human rights activism. HR are at stake and they need to be highlighted.
We must highlight to safeguard HR values.
Promote unity
HR activists must show framework activism.
Find activities from other religions.
Communicating with UK groups and internationally to show the two faces of our government towards violations.

Political committee
Many issues came out
Social media is good way to spread message
Political involvement. We don’t get ourselves involved. Approach your MP or councillor without fear. You r fighting for just reason.
Petition or involve yourself. Do you know how to write petition? What tactics to make it successful? We need workshop to learn petition-writing and spreading it.
Campaigns must be organised
Press Release must be issued.
Letter to Parliament.
Approaching British public
Positive pressure. Expose ruling family, its harm to society.
Targeting companies to convince them to stop dealing with these dictators.

Related Posts