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Bahrain: More Tear Gas Than People

An apparent tender document leaked on 16 October 2013 shows that Bahrain is set to purchase more tear gas canisters than its entire population. But why should you care? Photocredit: Stoptheshipment.org

An apparent tender document leaked on 16 October 2013 shows that Bahrain is set to purchase more tear gas canisters than its entire population. But why should you care? Photocredit: Stoptheshipment.org

Over the past two weeks, an independent group called “Bahrain Watch” has been leading a strong campaign on social media networks against the import of tear gas in Bahrain. The group which defines itself as “an independent research and advocacy organisation that seeks to promote effective, transparent and accountable governance in Bahrain” initiated the campaign “Stop the Shipment” after obtaining a leaked document that reveals Bahrain's plans to purchase 1.6 million canisters of tear gas – that's more than it's 1.3m inhabitants.

The campaign calls on netizens to send emails to officials and companies to stop the shipment based on collected evidence that prove the dangerous use of tear gas in Bahrain. Besides its obvious health effects on protesters and passers-by, tear gas has caused the death of tens of Bahrainis since the February 2011 revolution.

The suggested message that the campaign includes in sent emails reads:

Since 2011, Bahrain's security forces have misused tear gas indiscriminately and inhumanely, causing injury, death, miscarriages, and possible long-term health complications. Tear gas is supposed to be ‘non-lethal', but Bahrain's police use large amounts of tear gas in residential areas, even when there are no protests, and sometimes shoot tear gas directly into houses. The police also fire the canisters directly at people's heads, which has caused serious injuries and deaths. Overall, 39 deaths in Bahrain have been attributed to tear gas, according to Physicians for Human Rights. The death toll includes both young and old, both men and women, and people with disabilities. Very few police have been punished for killing protesters.
Based on videos and images we have seen, the top suppliers of tear gas products used in Bahrain between 2011 and 2013 appear to be DaeKwang Chemical Corporation and CNO Tech of South Korea. Another company, Korea Defense Industry (KDI) may also export to Bahrain. The other major exporter is a South African/German company called Rheinmetall Denel. DaeKwang Chemical Corporation and CNO Tech have exported over 1.5 million pieces of tear gas to Bahrain between 2011 and 2012. This is more than the entire population of Bahrain, which is 1.2 million, of which 600,000 are citizens.
Please immediately stop exporting CS gas and other chemical agents to Bahrain, so no more peaceful protesters are killed with your products. Other countries, including the United States, have already stopped exporting tear gas to Bahrain. Companies that continue to export these products will be held liable under International Law on the grounds of contributing to the intentional abuse and misuse of chemical agents by the Bahrain security forces. You have a responsibility to prevent exports where tear gas is being misused.
Already, the issue of tear gas exports to Bahrain is being widely covered in the international media, including in the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/23/world/middleeast/rights-group-warns-against-tear-gas-abuse-by-bahrain.html) and the Financial Times (http://ft.com/cms/s/0/67a619e2-397d-11e3-a3a4-00144feab7de.html). Members of Parliament in Europe are beginning to question relations with Korea, over the issue of their tear gas exports to Bahrain (http://www.marietjeschaake.eu/2013/10/mep-stop-the-export-of-teargas-to-bahrain/). The world is watching you.
Your family and friends are precious to you, and Bahrainis’ families and friends are precious to them. Stop killing Bahrainis’ lovely family and friends. Stop tear gas exports to Bahrain. Learn more at: http://bahrainwatch.org/arms/

Stories from victims
The campaign operates as a platform for victims of tear-gassing in Bahrain to share their stories. Two messages read:

I live in Sehla – Bahrain, Tear gas became a daily routine that we got used to, I would never dare open the window driving into town, knowing that i could suffocate and drive into a lamp post on the way, I am not sure what are the long term symptoms of exposure, but I am simply and honestly sick and tired of it all, my wife is pregnant and we bought gas masks and put them in our cars, as the few seconds between getting out of the car and into our place could have sever impact on our unborn baby. Give the people some rights, allow them to be part of the solution, accepting and admitting that we made mistakes, the Government & the Opposition is the first step to find a solution.

We Live in Bani Jamra, and we are exposed heavily and frequently to launch a toxic gas on the house, on the top and bottom roof of our house there is a large number of gas cans that have been launched on the house. Window of one of the rooms already broken by pack of tear gas, also one car in our house was damaged due the same reason. Especially in nights we are being more exposed to severe suffocate due to more shooting the tear gases . The children's are vulnerable to disease because of toxic gas . Next to the house there is a kitchen which has been subjected to partial combustion several times because of police firing tear gas. The combustion of this kitchen is a disaster for the home, as well as neighboring houses where this kitchen contains a large storage tank for cooking gas .

South Korean Deal
After the spread of the campaign, Amnesty Korea denounced the deal between the two countries. John Horne, a member of Bahrain Watch, published an op-ed in PolicyMic detailing the relations between both governments:

South Korea and Bahrain have been fostering closer ties since 2011, despite Bahrain’s internationally condemned human rights abuses. Four days after the start of the February uprising, a South Korean delegation visited Bahrain announcing plans to reopen their Embassy that had been closed since 1999. In May 2012, Bahrain’s crown prince led a delegation to South Korea. Several agreements were signed and the trip was reciprocated this August, when the South Korean prime minister travelled to Bahrain. More agreements were signed across multiple sectors, including the establishment of an “economic cooperation body” leading the South Korean Chargé d'Affaires to boast of $1 billion in trade between the two countries.

Cases and Victims
Bahraini activist Maryam Alkhawaja tweeted a link to a 2012 report by “Physicians for Human Rights” that is based on data and interviews with more than 100 Bahrainis who were victims of state-violence since the 2011 uprising:

@MARYAMALKHAWAJA:
Weaponizing Tear Gas: #Bahrain's Unprecedented Use of Toxic Chemical Agents Against Civilians http://physiciansforhumanrights.org/library/reports/weaponizing-tear-gas.html #StopTheShipment

An Irish supporter of the campaign Eliane Masons tweeted about cases of victims killed by tear gas in Bahrain:

@ElaineMasons: Qassim Habib. Aged 8. Exposure to Tear Gas/Village attacked Severely with Tear Gas. DIED 26 JAN 2013 #bahrain #StopTheShipment R.I.P.

Anonymous Twitter user @BMine1 published a list of 78 names of victims killed by tear gas:

@BMine1:
Martyrs of #Bahrain who died by toxic gases used bythe government as a collective punishment :
1- Martyr Isa Mohammed ,71 years,Almaamer
2- Martyr( aborted fetus ) Hawraa Mohammed Saeed,six months ,Sanabis
3-Martyr Khadija Al A.Hai, Sanabis
4- Martyr Zainab Ali Altajer , 70 years ,Sanabis
5- Martyr Mohammed A.Husain
Farhan ,6years ,Sitra
6- Martyr S.Adnan S.Ahmed Almosawi ,44years,Almarkh
7-Martyr Isa Altaweel ,50years,Sites
8- Mart9yr Zainab Hasan All Jumaa ,47years,Sitra
9- Martyr Hadeel S.Mohammed Ahmed ,(aborted fetus)9 months ,Saar
10-Martyr Jaafer Lutfallah ,72years,Abusaiba
11- Martyr S.Jawad S.Ahmed ,36years,Sites
12- Martyr Mohammed Hasaneen Ali ,(aported fetus),3weeks,Aldeer
13- Martyr Fatima Abbas Alsameea ,(aported fetus),Jidhafs
14-Martyr A.ali Ali Ahmed,58years,Almoqshaa
15-Martyr Fakhria Jasim Moh'd Alsakran,55years,
Jid Ali
16- Martyr Moh'd Khamis Alkunaizi ,25years,Almoqshaa
17- Martyr Yaseen Jasim Mohsin Alasfoor,11years,Almaameer
18-Martyr Salma Mohsin Abbas ,80years,Bar bar
19- Martyr Saeed Ali
Hasan Alsekri ,65years,Aali
20- Martyr A.Ali Abdul LA Mohammed ,58years,Maameer
21- Martyr Zahraa Ali Hasan ,68years,Alnoaim
22- Martyr Fatima Salman Albasri ,Alnabeeh Saleh Island
23- Martyr Ali Isa
Abdul LA Alhaiki,48years,Samaheej
24- Martyr Habeeb Khadim Almullah ,63years,South Sihla
25- Martyr Alabda Hussain Isa ,68years,South Sihla
26- Martyr Mansoor Salman Hasan ,86years,Sites
27- Martyr Sukaina Ali Ahmed Maroon ,78years,Abosaibaa
28- Martyr Yahya Yousif Ahmed,45days,Ras Roman
29- Martyr Sabri Mahfood Yousif,27years,Shahrakan
30- Martyr Jaafar Jasim Almowali,41years,Almoqshaa
31- Martyr Hussain Majed Hasan Majed,70years,Dimistan
32- Martyr Ahmed A.
Nabi A.rasool,31years,Shah rakan 33- Martyr Abdat Ali A.Husain Saleh ,59years,Aali
34- Martyr Khadeeja Moh'd Ali All Abbas ,49years,Almaameer
35- Martyr Yaser Mahdi All Karaani ,(spotted fetus)Karranh
36-Martyr Ali Yousif Baddah ,(aported fetus)Sites
37- Martyr Batool Moh'd Sadiq A.Jalil (aported fetus) Sanad
38- Martyr Hussain Hamza Sabeel ,( aported fetud ) 9 months ,Sites
39- Martyr Reda Hani Moh'd (aported fetus ),5momths Almaameer
40- Martyr S.Hasan S.Isa S.Hashim 1&a half years,Alnabeeh Saleh Island
41- Martyr Moh'd Baqer A.Hussain ,(aported fetus) Tubli lives in Buried
42- Martyr Marian Naser Moh'd,80years,Sad ad
43-Martyr Ali Yousif A.wahab (aported fetus) Sites
44- Martyr Moh'd Yousif A.wahab (aported fetus),Sites
45- Martyr Kawther Ali Hasan ,(aported fetus) Karzakan
46- Martyr Moh'd Jaw ad Farhan (aported fetus),Sitra
47- Mohsin Ateya Alnakal ,(aported fetus) 4 months,Sites
48- Martyr Zainab Ebrahim Fateel,(aported fetus),Sites
49- Martyr Mohsin jaafar Ashoor ,(aported fetus) ,Dar Kuleeb
50- Martyr Has an Abdulla Ali Ahmed,59years,Sites
51- Martyr Ali Hasan Isa Alganem ,(aported fetus),Aldeer
52-Martyr Mahdi Marhoon ,84years,Almaameer
53- Martyr Huda S.Neama S.Hasan ,11 months ,Abu Qua
54- Martyr Basel Mansoor Ali Alqatan ,44years,Alshakoora
55- Martyr Asia Hasan Almadeh ,42years,Jidhafs
56- Martyr Fadak Mosaimaa, days ,Aldaih
57- Martyr Zainab A.Hadi Alfardan (aported fetus),Karzakan
58- Martyr Habeeb Ebrahim Abdulla,88 years,Almalkia
59- Martyr S.Hussain S.Ahmed ,1 & a half months,Alsanabis
60- Martyr Sajida Faisal Jawad ,5days ,Bilad Alqadeem
61- Martyr Ameena S.Mahdi ,36years,Abosaibaa
62- Martyr Qasim A.Mahdi ,(aported fetus) 5months,Sites
63- Martyr Qasim Habeeb Jaafar,8years,Kababad
64-Martyr Ali Osama A.Nabi,(aported fetys)Aldeer ,
65- Martyr Moh'd Osama A.Nabi (aported fetus) ,Aldeer
66- Martyr Moh'd A.Hadi Ali ,(aported fetus),Aldaih
67- Martyr Hawraa Yousif Omran ,(aported fetus) 8 months ,Sites,Nowaidrat
68- Martyr Wadeeaa Moanes Abbas ,(aported fetus)9months,Addari
69- Martyr Mohsin Jaafar Nusaif ,(aported fetus) 8months ,Alkawara
70- Martyr Haidar Ali Moh'd Hubail ,(aported fetus ) 8 months , Aleker
71- Martyr Jaafar Jasim Altaweel ,35years,Sites
72- Martyr S.Omran S.Hameed ,23years ,Karzakan
73- Martyr Ebrahim Hasan Salman ,60years,Samaheej
74- Martyr Jood Hussain Matrook ,(aported fetus) 9months,Bilad Alqadeem
75- Martyr Saeed Abdulla Marzooq ,55years,Aldiraz
76- Martyr Ali Jaafar Habeeb,10 years,Almalkia
77- Martyr Rose Nisha Nikaroto,28years,Indian ,Rays Roman
78- Martyr Naseer ,26years,Indian ,Sanad

…& still going on …The government intends to enter into a deal to buy more than a million & a half shell & ninety thousand grenade of solvents tears

Collected Videos
Using the hashtag #StoptheShipment, many Twitter users posted videos documenting the everyday practice of teargassing in Bahrain. “Bahrain Watch” put a good post on Buzzfeed showing 27 different ways of teargassing used by Bahrain's riot police:

A way to control the crowd:

A substitute to bullets

A killing tool:

and a “home delivery”!

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