Bahrain Revolution Conference Report

Held in Manchester on 17th December 2011, organised by the Bahrain Solidarity Campaign and the Human Rights Organistaion RAPAR

‘Those of us who are free to speak, we must raise our voices.’

We need to ‘show solidarity with the people of Bahrain’, said Tony Lloyd, MP, opening the Bahrain Revolution Conference, held in Manchester, in December 2011. Tony is chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party in the British parliament.

‘It is one year on since the flame of revolution was ignited’ by the actions of Mohamed Bouazizi in Tunisia. ‘The Arab Spring has changed everything,’ explained , Dr Saeed Al Shehabi, opposition leader of the Bahrain Freedom Movement.

‘We ask for no more support than what is asked by the Egyptian people,’ in their revolution, said Roof Al Shayeb, an official spokesperson for the 14th February Coalition, formed from the day the revolution started in Bahrain.

Tony Lloyd gave support to the protesters who ‘have shown amazing courage standing up in the face of repression from the government and from Suadi Troops.’

Tony agreed to speak to the British Foreign Secretary Alister Birt and urge him ‘to say directly to the King’ of Bahrain ‘and those around him’ that the recent report shows abuse and torture did happen, ‘it is very clear and he should back the process of reform.’ Tony also called for the release of the imprisoned medics as well as ‘all political prisoners.’

The vice president of the Bahraini Teachers Association is one of many such political prisoners. In a special video message screened at the conference Jaleela Al Salaman told of how “on 28th March fifty men raided my home, all armed, they pointed a gun to my head and said ‘don’t worry I am police.’ They broke my home, they scared my kids. They took me away and I was kept for ten days in solitary confinement.” She told of how she was beaten and had to endure 13 hour interrogation sessions. ‘The Bahraini Teachers Association has done nothing wrong. Teachers are being punished for exercising their rights. Teachers are arrested inside school. Students are made to beat their teachers in public. Over 4,000 have been taken for interrogation. Many have been suspended.’

Abdul Shameed Al Markhi was a specialist nurse working at the Salmaniya Medical Complex when it was attacked by government soldiers in March. He witnessed many atrocities. ‘They target the us because we saw what happened. They want to silence us.’ Abdul is now living in Britain after winning his claim for asylum.

The President of the Bahrain Nursing Society, Mrs Al Saffar, speaking via video from Bahrain confirmed that the imprisonment and repression against health workers still continues. She said that medics in Bahrain were ‘delighted’ of the support from those like the health section of the British Trades Union UNISON who have pledged support for the imprisoned medics through the MENA Solidarity Network.

Dr. Zahra Al Sammak , also recorded a speech for the Conference in Support Of the Bahrain Revolution

In early December, on the very day that top level diplomats from the US and the UK visited Bahrain, ‘tear gas and chemical gas were used,’ against innocent people, explained Saeed. ‘A six day old baby was killed’ because of the gas. ‘Why is the British government quiet?’ he asked.

‘The Bahraini people face the regime – and they face the Gulf Co-operation Council,’ who sent in their troops to help repress the people, explained Hussein Abdulla, Director of Human Rights Bahrain. ‘The US has just agreed another £53 million arms deal to Bahrain.’ The US Navy’s Fifth Fleet is stationed in Bahrain.

‘We have one demand for the revolution in Bahrain. Get rid and overthrow this government. No one has ever seen a despot become a democrat. We have no other choices,’ said Raoof.

Mark Krantz, an activist with the MENA Solidarity Network said, ‘the future of the region will not be one in which Kings and despots rule. The future is now being shaped by the continuing revolutionary movements, from Egypt to Bahrain and beyond. We must continue to support those movements for revolutionary change.’

Key demands of the conference were expressed by A Al Shayeb, Opposition leader and Official spokesperson of 14 February 2011

  • That our nation and revolution win more friends and compassion so that that we can achieve our principles
  • To continue to raise awareness to support human rights in Bahrain
  • To release all prisoners of conscience
  • To bring killers to justice
  • To rehabilitate victims of torture
  • To compensate families of torture
  • Make sure medication and treatment go to the injured
  • Put political pressure through parliaments in US and West to put pressure on Bahrain
  • Isolate the regime until it fulfils the demands of the people
  • We hope that our friends in the media will really take up the case of Bahrain and bring it to the attention of the world

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