“Hate is an imminent danger to all, and therefore combating it must be a duty for all.” This is confirmed by the United Nations, which declared June 18 of each year a day to celebrate the International Day Against Hate Speech. This day aims to promote dialogue between religions and cultures and tolerance in the face of hate speech.
From 2011 to the present day, hate speech calling for defaming the political opposition and provoking societal division has increased and developed to include incitement to tighten the security grip, suppression of freedoms, the elimination of opposition political action, arbitrary arrests and harsher punishments, such as provisions to revoke nationality and implement death sentences. Prison conditions have turned into a fertile environment for allegations of torture and retaliation against political and human rights activists. Rather, the scope of that incitement extended to international bodies that condemn human rights violations, as happened to the UN’s former High Commissioner for human right, Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein, who was one of the victims of this speech because he criticized the deteriorating human rights conditions in Bahrain, as well as international organizations that were not spared, such as Amnesty International and others.
While there is no law criminalizing hatred in Bahrain, we stress the importance of applying Article 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil Rights and Politics, which guarantee the prohibition of advocacy of hatred and discrimination, and the criminalization of instigators.
In addition, Bahrain Center for Human Rights warns of the consequences of the continuation of some official media outlets in producing speeches that incite hatred and discrimination against the Shiites, who are the largest segment of citizens in Bahrain.
Hence, we must point out the importance of paying attention to the need for the Bahraini government to work seriously to implement the basic recommendation of the 2012 Rabat Action Plan, which is to adopt comprehensive national anti-discrimination legislation with preventive and punitive measures in order to seriously combat incitement to hatred. We also urge member states of the Human Rights Council to pressure the authorities to bring domestic legislation into line with the 2008 Camden Principles, which call for the prohibition of advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred.
Accordingly, the director of Bahrain Center for Human Rights, Nedal Al-Salman, warns of the growth of hate speech that leads to deeper social divisions, and calls for adopting effective strategies to eliminate all forms of hatred, discrimination and religious persecution.
While Bahrain Center is following the deteriorating human rights situation in the country and the rise in hate speech, it urges the government to:
- Stop endorsing sectarian hate speech against indigenous Shi’a citizens and guarantee their right and the right of other religious and ethnic minorities to non-discrimination.
• Stopping the hate speech adopted by some official parties and platforms, and the need for the press and media to contribute to strengthening national cohesion and preventing the publication of everything that would disturb the spirit of nation