As many as 26 human rights organizations have called on the international community to address Bahrain’s suppression of rights advocates and Shias population, an Egyptian institute says.“We stress the international community’s responsibility for curbing the security campaign aimed at silencing human rights defenders and concealing the grave abuses committed by the authorities against the citizenry, particularly the Shia community,” the organizations said in a Â petition.
The bodies warned about “the authorities’ increasing crackdown on the different forms of expression and peaceful association and assembly” and “the government’s growing tendency to set the law aside in favor of naked force, detention, the torture and abuse of peaceful opponents,” one of the cosignatories, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), said in a press release on Wednesday.
They said Manama maintained “a policy of systematic discrimination and marginalization of the Shia majority.”
The Shia opposition refuses to recognize the 2002 constitution and has called for a boycott of the upcoming parliamentary elections, set for October 23. The protesting organizations also said that the suppression campaign was meant “to pave the way for wide-ranging election fraud.”
Despite their demographic predominance in the kingdom, the Shias have long complained about being discriminated against by the Bahraini government when it comes to obtaining jobs and receiving services.
Earlier in the month, the Manama government revoked the citizenship of leading Shia cleric Ayatollah Sheikh Hussein al-Najati, who represents top Iraqi cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in Bahrain, as well as the citizenship of his family.
An outspoken critic of the government, Sheikh Abdul Jaleel al-Miqdad, has also been prohibited from leading the Friday Prayers.
The Bahraini government has arrested more than 250 Shias since August, accusing 23 of them of plotting a coup and provoking “violence, rioting and terrorism.”