Political Participation in Bahrain: Ongoing Repression

“Waad”: the dissolution of the National Democratic Action Society

On the fourth anniversary of the dissolution of the National Democratic Action Society “Waad,” the government of Bahrain continues to suppress political participation in all of the country. It closed political societies and banned their members (2018) from participating in elections in a move that is considered another form of suppression of political participation.

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) considers these steps a part of other steps made by the Bahraini authorities towards a complete suppression of human rights. It is a violation of the right to freedom of association and a violation of the freedom of expression. In the details, the dissolution of Waad came on the background of the participation in the 2011 protests. The Center urges the international organizations to pressure the authorities in Bahrain to end the systematic campaign of repression practiced against political and civil societies, and that has continued since the start of the protests without any legal oversight. Since 2011, Bahrain has recorded the banning of most civil society institutions, the disruption of the human rights community, the sabotage of the trade union community, the destruction of the political activism, and the abolition of the media space.

In this context, the President of BCHR, Nedal Al-Salman, calls on the Bahraini authorities to “end the dissolution of political and civil societies”. Al-Salman also calls on the government to “implement effective real reforms and allow Waad and other dissolved political societies to resume their work”. She considers that the dissolution of Waad undermines political action to lower levels, makes the Association law loses is its spirit, and the political arena loses the necessary space required for practicing political activity, which is considered a necessity for the components of comprehensive political reform.

It should be noted that the National Democratic Action Society “Waad” was established in 2001 by Abdulrahman Al-Nuaimi, to be one of the few political societies in Bahrain that was not founded on a sectarian or religious background, and a group of political activists from various orientations.