200 attacks on Asians in Bahrain say activists
Manama, March 5, 2012
More than 200 attacks on Asians have been registered since the outbreak of last year's unrest, with 20 assaults since the start of this year, said human rights activists in Bahrain.
They claim the "brutal" attacks were carried out by an organised group within the anti-government movement, which incites hate among Bahrainis and targets "vulnerable" expatriate labourers.
The Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society (BHRWS) said yesterday (March 4) the figures represented victims who came forward, adding that there could be more.
"We have documented more than 200 attacks targeted at the Asian community in Bahrain last year," said society member Salman Naser.
"There could be several migrant workers who were afraid to come out and report attacks against them by these organised mobs. This could be because they were free visa workers or overstaying on expired visas but they have the right to lodge complaints.
"There is a network of an organised group within anti-government protesters, who we believe are behind this terror attacks," he added. "They incite hatred through their speeches to create chaos in the country."
The society formed the Bahraini Coalition for Justice and Equity last June that consists of lawyers and community leaders, who documented attacks on expatriates.
"These attacks against the Asian community have not stopped with over 20 workers attacked since the start of this year," said Naser, who is also the coalition director.
"There were all sorts of injuries from sword attacks to serious physical injuries sustained by these workers. They do not come here to be beaten up by Bahrainis. Their families wait for money they send at the end of the month and if they sustain injuries it affects their work."
Naser said the coalition was disappointed with the lack of efforts by authorities in searching for and arresting the attackers.
However, it has shared its findings with the Interior Ministry and several Asian embassies in a bid to fast-track the arrest process and help those affected.
"We plan to suggest to the government and the Human Rights and Social Development Ministry to set up a compensation fund to help migrant workers affected during the unrest."
Pakistani and Indian diplomats earlier called for security to be beefed up as a safety measure following reports that foreign workers received threatening letters from anonymous online groups in the lead up to the first anniversary of last year's unrest.
Interior Minister Shaikh Rashid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa earlier described attacks against expatriates as unacceptable and said the criminals would be punished and have a "fast trial".
His comments came after Briton Peter Morrissey lost two fingers when he was attacked with a sword after losing his way driving home in Karranah.
The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) report stated that 41 civilians, including four expatriates, four policemen and a BDF officer died as direct result of the unrest. – TradeArabia News Service