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Amnesty warns of looming human rights catastrophe in Bahrain

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This file photo taken on February 19, 2011 shows people holding up flags as thousands of Bahraini anti-government protesters return to Pearl Square in Manama. (Photos by AFP)

Amnesty International has warned that Bahrain is on the verge of a human rights catastrophe amid a pattern of increased violence against demonstrators, executions, and detentions.

The rights group gave the warning on Tuesday as nationwide protests were underway in Bahrain to mark the sixth anniversary of the 2011 popular uprising.

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“Bahrain is at a tipping point. The first two months of 2017 alone saw an alarming upsurge in arbitrary and abusive force by security forces as well as the first executions since the uprising in 2011,” said Amnesty International’s Beirut office Deputy Director Lynn Maalouf.

She added that if the Al Khalifah regime does not put further control on its security forces, does not respect protesters rights, and does not halt its executions, it will be dealing with a full blown human rights crisis. 

Bahraini protesters run for cover during clashes with police in the village of Sitra, south of the capital, Manama, January 8, 2016. 

“For six years, the Bahraini government has been claiming that it has taken meaningful steps towards reform and upholding its human rights obligations, including by prosecuting those who were responsible for the violations that took place during the 2011 uprising. But the past few weeks have seen a very concerning renewed pattern of violations, including arbitrary detention and torture, facilitated by a continuing climate of impunity,” she added.

Anti-regime protests have been held on an almost daily basis ever since the popular uprising roared into life in 2011. Manama has gone to great lengths to silence dissent. In March 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to assist Bahrain in its crackdown. Scores of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or been arrested since then.

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