Photo: Education Minister Majid Al Nuaimi is an ex-military official at Bahrain Defence Force
The Minister of Education Should Be Held Accountable for Continued Attacks on Students

17 April 2013

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights express grave concern over the continued attacks on students in Bahrain and the violations to their safety resulting from attacks at school facilities.

On 16 April 2013, riot police stormed the Jabreya Secondary School for Boys and fired tear gas extensively inside the school area after students staged a protest demanding the release of a fellow student who was arrested one day earlier from the school.

On Monday 15 April 2013, Hassan Humidan (17 years old) a student at Jabreya Secondary School, was called to the school administration office, and from there police officers arrested him and took him away in front of his fellow students. His family has not been able to obtain any information on his whereabouts since his arrest. His father stated that he has asked about Hassan at the local police station and at the criminal investigation department, and that both denied having Humaidan in custody (in Arabic: alwasatnews.com/3874/news/..)

Security forces at the school gate at time of arresting Humaidan

On Tue 16 Apr 2013 as the news of the arrest of Humaidan spread throughout the school, his colleagues organized a spontaneous peaceful stand in front of the school administration office in protest against the way their fellow student was arrested.

Students peacefully standing before the security attack

The school administration responded by allowing the riot police handle the situation and turn the school into a conflict zone by firing an excessive amount of tear gas to disperse the student gathering, which caused suffocation among the students and the teachers; injuries were reported among the students. (video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gp8wqKT5-jM&feature=youtu.be") Two students were reported to have been arrested from the scene: Ahmed Sudaif and Hussain Saeed.

Videos: Tear gas inside the school: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6O3iWeGS8g&feature=youtu.be http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=per7j1vRNW4

Photos of the tear gas attack on the school

One of the reported injuries

One of the school staff suffering suffocation

According to reports, Mohamed Jaber, a father of one of the students at the school, says he came to pick up his son but police instructed him and other parents to leave. (see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-22164287

The practice of raiding schools by security forces to arrest students and teachers has been ongoing since March 2011 and dozens of students were arrested and subjected to ill-treatment without any accountability (see BCHR report: http://bahrainrights.hopto.org/en/node/4466). In recent cases, entire school buses were detained and taken to police stations with all the students onboard, as in December 2012 when primary school students were taken to police stations and threatened with arrest for allegedly chanting with political slogans (see: http://www.bahrainrights.org/en/node/5581). In January 2013 another case was recorded where a school bus was stopped at Burhama checkpoint and several students were detained briefly before they were released.

In addition to the violence against students, the school code of conduct has been used to deprive school students from their right in receiving formal education when their freedom of expression is in conflict with the government views. Students as young as 8 years-old have been suspended from their studies for chanting political slogans (see: http://www.bahrainrights.org/en/node/5597).

The Ministry of Education has threatened to take further actions against the school students accused of “disturbing” the education process after the events at Jabriya school (see: http://manamavoice.com/news-news_read-12871-0.html. The BCHR fears that arbitrary procedures would be taken against the students to deprive them from their right to education, or that the school might witness more classroom arrests.

The Ministry of Education represented by the Minister Majid Al Nuaimi (an ex-military official at Bahrain Defence Force) is fully responsible for all the violence and disturbances that were witnessed in Bahraini schools due to the policies and poor decisions made by the Ministry which further complicated the situation. The school as an educational establishment should implement more respectful solutions and a commitment to upholding the child’s right to safety in education, instead of using the security forces to respond to students who are considered minors under the age of 18.

No action has been taken to secure the safety and neutrality of the school environment since the start of the pro-democracy movement in 2011. On the contrary, the Minister responsible for violating rights of the students since 2011, Majid Al Nuaimi, and who is responsible for the arbitrary arrests from the classrooms and ill-treatment of students, is still in his position.

Rather than condemning the Bahraini regime’s human rights violations against children, the state parties of the United Nations Committee of the Rights of the Child elected Bahrain to a seat in the committee. Additionally, Bahrain was elected as the Vice-President of the UNESCO International Bureau of Education (IBE) (see: http://www.bahrainrights.org/en/node/5005.

The BCHR calls on the United States, the United Kingdom, the UN and all other allies and international institutions to put pressure of the Government of Bahrain to immediately:

1) release all detained students and to drop all the false charges against them;

2) put an end to the practice of raiding schools with the security forces and work to secure a healthy and safe educational environment for the students;

3) commit to international treaties related to human rights which states that the right to education is ensured to all students without discrimination and without politically motivated acts;

4) return suspended students to their schools immediately and to compensate them accordingly in line with educational, emotional, and material loss;

5) initiate an independent investigation into the events that happened in Bahraini schools and particularly the attacks on students inside and outside their schools;

6) uphold all articles of conventions and treaties signed by the Kingdom of Bahrain in relation to Children’s rights - particularly in relation to the protection from torture, arbitrary arrest and the conditions of trials and detentions in specialist establishments;

7) commit to Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in relation to freedom of expression, and not to attack or arrest students based on the fact that they expressed their opinions;

8) dismiss the Minster of Education, Majid Al Nuaimi, and hold him responsible for the deterioration of the situation in schools, the inability to provide a suitable environment for education, and his role in promoting sectarianism which further complicated the situation in the schools;

9. Suspend Bahrain membership in the UNESCO IBE until it takes measurable steps to stop all the violations in the education sector.