Media Center
Responses
07 August 2012

To whom it may concern,

The Government of Bahrain denies and condemns the use of lethal force or unlawful means in controlling demonstrations in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Any means that have been exercised by security forces adhere to international standards of riot control. Suggestions that the use of tear gas in Bahrain is severely injurious or even lethal is simply not backed up by any research or proof.

It is imperative to establish that any allegations regarding the use of force are taken very seriously. There are hundreds of cases of police being injured by petrol bombs, propelled metal rods and makeshift weapons. Additionally, raids at two locations last month - one in Salmabad and the other in Hamad Town - yielded four bombs ready for use, and five tons of explosive materials and another 110 liters of chemicals. The MOI reported that approximately 700 policemen have been targeted by violent gangs and injured on the job.

Furthermore, the Government rejects any allegations that any person or individual is discriminated against or targeted on basis creed, faith, or ethnicity. Where there have been a response by the Ministry of Interior, it is in response to illegal, violent, or disruptive acts being committed and has no bearing what the person committing believes or which community to which he or she might belong. The UN guidelines state that the right of peaceful assembly shall be recognized, but they must conform with the law in the “interests of national security or public safety, public order/or the protection of the rights and freedom of others” (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 21). The disruptions to others’ lives and economic interests is not acceptable, and it is the Government’s responsibility to create a safe environment for both of those to survive.

Bahrain has a duty to restore law and order to protect the right of life for all citizens. The use of force by security personnel was acknowledged by the Government in the BICI report and measures have been enforced to ensure proportionality and accountability concerns are addressed. In an immediate response to the BICI report, an Internal Affairs department and an ombudsman were set-up in the Ministry of Information (MOI) to review the police code of conduct and enforce disciplinary measures upon security forces. Furthermore, to insure that constitutional rights and international standards are guaranteed and adhered to, The Minister of Interior has ordered an investigation into allegations of violations of human rights by police officers. HE also stated that the investigation into the allegations of police misconduct reflects the Ministry's commitment to uphold professional standards in policing. He said the investigation will expose the truth in a transparent manner and will be another step toward helping all citizens of Bahrain feel confident about the integrity of the police force.

We urge and encourage the Physicians for Human Rights organization to adhere to the basics of reporting, basing their research on facts and on-ground research before making such strong false claims at this point.

Due to the extensive nature of the report, a more detailed study will be taken before making further comments.


Regards,

Fahad A. AlBinali
Counselor for Foreign Media Affairs and Spokesperson
Information Affairs Authority
President's Office
P.O Box 253
Isa Town, Kingdom of Bahrain
Email: Falbinali@iaa.gov.bh