Bahrain raps groups fomenting Gulf unrest
Manama, June 13, 2012
Bahrain has slammed human rights groups and the media for fomenting unrest across the Gulf, claiming some organisations appear determined to selectively interpret events related to the region.
'They seek to distort achievements made in the field of development and reform under the pretext of reports on human rights,' Interior Minister Shaikh Rashid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa told delegates during the opening of the Arabian Gulf Security: Regional Facts and International Interests Conference at the Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea and Spa.
'These organisations have been training a number of people in the region to be part of the desire to promote regime change regardless of results and losses.
'We have seen how these organisations operate and the way they deviate from their actual role in the protection of human rights and freedoms and we see them now playing a political role to the detriment of our domestic and regional stability.'
Shaikh Rashid said there was also evidence to suggest that some human rights organisations were acting with double standards.
'These organisations deliberately target Gulf countries, which respect rights of its citizens, whilst at the same time condoning genuine violations of human rights in other countries,' he said.
Shaikh Rashid said this was illustrated by the limited role they had played in protecting the human rights of Palestinians.
'This is also manifested in their limited role in protecting and upholding human values such as morals and ethics and protecting society from extremism,' he said.
Experts across the globe are attending the conference, which concludes today, to debate security in the Gulf.
It has been organised by the Bahrain Centre for Strategic and International Studies and Energy in co-operation with the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security (RUSI).
Shaikh Rashid said action must be taken to stop the way the media distorts the facts, particularly when it seeks to encourage the spreading of chaos, insecurity and violence.
'This requires us all to adopt a collective stance which should not only be confined to refuting accusations, but linked to one that aims to deliver an influential comprehensive media campaign which reveals the whole truth,' he said.
'It is clear that there is a part of the international and regional media which targets the GCC. We have seen this through campaigns broadcast by some media outlets that present biased and contradictory reports with information acquired from sources which only care about portraying distorted and subjective views.'
Meanwhile, Shaikh Rashid said religious extremism was the greatest internal threat to Gulf security.
'Unfortunately, religious extremism is something which Iran seeks to ferment and ultimately capitalise on,' he said. 'Fortunately, we live in countries whose rulers have stuck to the wisdom of consolidating religious values and piety. We are seeing this extremism colour our politics and public life.”
'In addition to abusing religion and its manipulation for the serving of political interest, religious extremism has a negative effect upon the image of Islam and Muslims across the globe - prompting the frequent, yet albeit unjustified, stereotyping of Islam as a religion of terror.'
Unsolved border disputes between the Arab states also continues to be a concern, said Shaikh Rashid.
'Territorial disputes provoke rising tension and heighten the possibility for outbreak of conflicts if such disputes are not resolved peacefully,' he said.
According to Shaikh Rashid, Gulf had only become an international concern since oil and gas became the main sources of energy and the cornerstones of economic growth and modern civilisation.
'The Gulf region possesses about two-thirds of global oil reserves and a quarter of the world reserves of gas,' he said. 'From this point, security of the Gulf region has a direct impact upon global energy security as well as global security in its own right.'
Speaking about Bahrain's unrest, Shaikh Rashid said the country was capable of overcoming the chaos it witnessed last year.
'That was a difficult period in the country and the day will come to address the issue in some detail,' he said. 'Nonetheless, everyone must be fully aware of just how serious the general situation was and how sectarian feelings were exacerbated during that period of instability.
'Such troubles reached the point of people willing to kill one another. The situation inevitably led to further civil clashes in the country and resulted in a huge national loss.'
Shaikh Rashid said the government's response had helped put a swift halt to human and 'material' losses. – TradeArabia News Service