Freedom House Report on Bahrain

Freedom House has published a telling report on freedoms in Bahrain in the run up to and through the protests this year. In this report, Freedom House says that the crackdown protests in Bahrain are “proportionally” greater than in any other Arab Spring country thus far.

According to the report, Bahrain was rated “not free” on their index. It can be seen through these reports that although the Bahraini protestors originally were only asking for small political reforms, the violent crackdown with the help of the Saudis, UAE, Qatar, and Pakistani mercenaries, only embolden the protesters and increased their demands.

The Freedom House report asserts that students have been made to leave university, and as was mentioned before, many individuals have lost their jobs. Over 1600 have been arrested, 35 killed, and journalists have had their reputations tarnished. Medics, who’s crime was aiding protesters hurt in clashes, have been found guilty and issued prison sentences.

Internet freedom is attacked often in Bahrain. 31 bloggers have been arrested and one died while being held by police. This past weekend, protesters were attacked while returning from the funeral for a father of an activist.

One has to wonder if Freedom House reports could be used to predict where social insurrection will appear next. According to this report, there have been significant losses of political freedom and civil liberties and the Shiite minority has suffered the most. Freedom House has noted “negative trends”, that if they were monitored closely, perhaps the Bahraini government could have intervened and prevented protests earlier.

By the time that the National Dialogue was established in July, it was “doomed to fail”. Only 35 seats were reserved for minorities out of some 300 seats. However, Freedom House reports that if the Commission (which is pausing a U.S. arms deal until its results are published) is just, it will bring about stability to the country. However, given the recurring violence and sectarian rhetoric by the regime, this seems unlikely to happen.

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