Amnesty: Upcoming Bahraini elections held amid political repression
Parliamentary elections in Bahrain are taking place amid the ongoing political repression and rights violations the Gulf country has become infamous for.
The parliamentary elections in Bahrain, which are scheduled for November 12, are taking place amid a climate of political repression after a decade in which the government has violated human rights, restricted civil society, outlawed political opposition parties, and shut down independent media, Amnesty International reported today.
The Bahrain authorities ramped up a campaign to eliminate political opposition from 2016 onward, banning opposition political parties that had existed legally before the uprising in 2011. Major opposition parties, independent media outlets, and well-known opposition leaders have all been declared illegal by the government.
As a result, Bahrain currently lacks any political opposition figures who are not in prison, as well as any independent media that would be willing to publicly criticize the government.
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“Over the past 11 years, the Bahraini authorities have crushed all forms of dissent and severely clamped down on the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and association,” said Amna Guellali, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
“In Bahrain today, there is no genuine, political opposition and no independent media, while critical human rights organizations are unable to operate freely inside the country. Holding this general election will not address the atmosphere of repression and the denial of human rights that has gripped Bahrain for years.”
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At least 12 political prisoners are now incarcerated, including protest organizers from 2011 and Ali Salman, the chairman of the main opposition group Al-Wefaq.
It is important to note that Bahrain will hold municipal and parliamentary elections on November 12. Since political opposition parties were banned from operating and their members' candidacies were denied, these elections have only taken place twice.
On the other hand, the Deputy Secretary-General of the Bahraini political party Al-Wefaq, Sheikh Hussain Al-Daihi, announced that his party is boycotting the general elections in Bahrain.
The reasons justifying the boycott are diverse but mainly concern the failure to implement a crucial reform, ongoing political repression in the country, and authorizing the zionist entity to meddle with the country's domestic affairs.