In a speech delivered on February 16, the UK’s ambassador to Bahrain, Iain Lindsay OBE – addressing the first Youth Justice workshop – said it was “really encouraging to see this level of attention being paid by the Bahraini authorities to the topic of Youth Justice”.
Lindsay said: “Over the last three years, the UK has played an important role, as Bahrain’s strategic partner of choice, in helping to support the reform vision of His Majesty King Hamad and His Royal Highness the Crown Prince”.
The campaign organisation Human Rights Watch has denounced the ruling family of the Persian state, saying: “Security forces continue to arrest scores of individuals arbitrarily in towns where anti-government protests regularly take place. High-profile critics of the government remain in jail on charges that relate solely to exercising their rights to freedom of expression and assembly.”
“The judicial system, headed by ruling family members, has yet to hold any senior official responsible for serious human rights violations that have occurred since 2011, including torture-related deaths in detention.”
However, Lindsay told the conference on Youth Justice: “While street violence has significantly reduced over the last 3 years, notwithstanding the spikes in violence we have seen on occasion, e.g. on February 14, many young people are in detention”.
Feb 14 2011 – As part of Arab Spring, in Bahrain a "Day of Rage" begins a series of demonstrations, a sustained campaign of civil resistance— DailyRadical History (@radicaldaily) February 14, 2015
February 14 refers to the so-called Day of Rage in 2011, the first day of a national uprising during which the Bahraini people were urged to "to take to the streets in a peaceful and orderly manner". The day had a symbolic value being the ninth and tenth anniversaries of the Constitution of 2002 and the National Action Charter respectively. The event led to a huge number of arrests and detentions, sparking human rights protests on the date each year.
Bahrain Targeting Children
However, human rights group, Amnesty, has criticised Bahrain’s government for detaining, ill-treating and torturing children and failing to improve its human rights record.
"Despite announcing a series of alleged reforms in recent years Bahrain's authorities have not delivered results. The demonstrations across the country in recent days signal that there is still a lot of frustration among the people. A spokesperson for Amnesty International told Sputnik:
“Freedom of expression also remains under attack, with human rights defenders and opposition activists repeatedly detained and prosecuted by the authorities."
Despite this, the British ambassador to Bahrain claimed “the British government believes that Bahrain has, with UK support, made good progress and is on the right track”.