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Prominent NGO calls for international pressure on Bahrain to end systematic suppression of political participation

Bahraini anti-government protesters march in the northern village of Abu Saiba, calling for the release of jailed Wa'ad Society leader Ebrahim Sharif. (File photo by AP)

A prominent Bahraini rights NGO has called on international organizations to use their influence and put pressure on Manama authorities to end the targeted and ongoing suppression of political participation.

In a statement on the occasion of the fourth anniversary of the dissolution of the National Democratic Action Society (Wa'ad), the Bahrain Center for Human Rights said the Manama regime presses ahead with its crackdown, noting “political participation in Bahrain faces continuous repression.”

The statement confirmed that failure to authorize the establishment of associations and violations of freedom of expression is only part of the Al Khalifa regime's efforts to “completely suppress human rights,” adding that the Manama regime not only closes political associations, but it also bars their members from participating in elections.

The NGO said Wa'ad, Bahrain’s largest leftist political party, was dissolved due to its participation in the 2011 protests.

It called on international organizations to use their “influence and pressure on the authorities in Bahrain to end the systematic campaign of repression that they are practicing against political and civil societies, which has continued since the protests began” in 2011.

Meanwhile, Nedal Al-Salman, the acting president of Bahrain Center for Human Rights, called on the Bahraini authorities to stop the dissolution of political and civil societies, take genuine steps toward reforms away from slogans, and allow Wa’ad and other dissolved political associations to resume their activities.

On May 31, 2017, Bahrain’s administrative court ruled to dissolve Wa’ad and hand over all its properties to the treasury, two months after Bahrain’s Ministry of Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments accused Wa’ad of “incitement of acts of terrorism and promoting violent and forceful overthrow” of the Manama regime.

It also claimed that the political group “glorified convicted terrorists and saboteurs who used weapons and detonated bombs in killing and wounding several security [personnel], threatened citizens and residents' safety and damaged private and public properties.”

Bahrain has been the scene of anti-government protests since 2011, with demonstrations demanding widespread political reforms and the establishment of a just ruling system that protects their rights.

Their demands have, however, fallen on deaf ears as the Manama regime does not shy away from suppression of dissent.

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