Human Rights

Forum in Bahrain explores Iranian threats to regional security

By Mohammed al-Jayyousi in Manama

Participants take part in an August 6th Arab Federation for Human Rights forum on Iran in Manama. [Mohammed al-Jayousi/Al-Mashareq]

Participants take part in an August 6th Arab Federation for Human Rights forum on Iran in Manama. [Mohammed al-Jayousi/Al-Mashareq]

The Arab Federation for Human Rights launched an initiative last week in Manama, Bahrain, to promote human rights and security and highlight Iranian interference in the Arab world.

The initiative, launched August 6th on the sidelines of the federation's third general assembly, aims to support Arab government and non-governmental efforts to confront Iranian threats and their repercussions on Arab national security and Gulf communities and peoples.

It also seeks to promote human rights and security in the Arab world, end sectarian tensions and eliminate conflicts that undermine peaceful co-existence.

The initiative’s constituent committee comprises five Arab parliamentarians: Bahrain Council of Representatives member Jamal Bu Hassan, selected as the committee's secretary-general, Saudi Shura Council member Fayez al-Shehri, Kuwait National Assembly member Abdullah al-Traiji, Mauritania House of Representatives member Mohammed Talebna and Qatar Shura Council member Rashid al-Medhadi.

During the federation's "No Rights Without Security" forum on Iranian interference in the region, participants discussed threats to Arab countries, the importance of national security for the advancement of rights and freedoms, and the role of NGOs in countering these threats.

Federation president Ahmed al-Hameli told Al-Mashareq that a committee of experts will put together an action plan based on an independent, comprehensive strategy developed by university professors, parliamentarians, lawyers and media professionals.

The initiative seeks to educate Arab populations about the importance of belonging to a state without politicizing sects or religions, or other methods of division prohibited by international agreements on human rights, he said.

The federation will work to promote a culture of human rights that is constructive and based on shared human values, he added, and to create a secure and stable environment that will foster security, peace and development.

Iran interferes "in the affairs of Arab countries with regard to security, human rights and social issues, as it does in Iraq, Syria and Yemen, especially since its regime hides under the cover of sect and ethnicity to undermine the security of the Arab individual," al-Hameli said.

Pursuing security and stability

Yemeni researcher Wessam Basindwah, chairman of the Arab Initiative for Education and Development board of trustees, said all Arab countries are concerned with the issue of security.

Bahrain in particular has suffered from Iranian interference and overcame the challenge capably, he told Al-Mashareq.

"Iran saw it fit for itself to be an instrument in the fragmentation of the region," Basindwah said, adding that Iran's posture makes "it difficult for it to co-exist peacefully with its neighbours".

"It is incumbent on Iran to respect its Arab neighbours as stipulated in international conventions," he said.

"Everyone has become aware of the magnitude of the threat that Iran poses to the security of the region," Basindwah added, noting that this led to the development of the Arab initiative.

The new initiative "comes to heighten this awareness and achieve community outreach [to educate the public] that the sectarian threat is one of the most prominent tools used to divide nations and fragment the region", he said.

Bahrain Council of Representatives secretary-general Abdullah al-Dosari affirmed the council's full support for the new initiative, noting that Bahrain has suffered greatly from Iranian interference.

Past experiences have proven that a united Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) is the best way to deal with the Iranian threat in all its forms, he said.

"Arab parliamentarians are counting heavily on the new initiative to preserve the Arab entity from the continuing Iranian threats, and it must be given prominence at the grassroots level," al-Dosari said.

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The touching scenes of hungry and sick Yemeni children don’t matter a lot to the crazy boy of Iran, Abdul Malek Badr Adin al-Houthi, or to his gang of evil criminals. They don’t also matter a lot to the old ousted mad man, the corrupt Ali Abu Saleh Affash. Many, except for Iran and Russia, know that children and adults in our beloved Yemen are victims of hunger, poverty, and displacement, and are victims of the gangs of the pro-Iran al-Houthi family and of the gangs of the old ousted man. Storming and rolling into all the districts of al-Hodeidah, Saada, and Sanaa, and liberating al-Hodeidah, Saada and Sanaa from the repression of the gangs of the pro-Iran al-Houthi family and of the gangs of the old ousted man mustn’t be much delayed. The suffering of our people in al-Hodeidah, Saada, and Sanaa is very big.