Sign on to ask weapons suppliers not to ship tear gas to Bahrain, where it has been used indiscriminately to hurt and even kill opponents of the regime.
Bahrain’s government has misused tear gas indiscriminately and inhumanely, firing canisters directly at protesters and conducting night time bombardments of residential areas, including firing tear gas directly into homes. Now, a leaked document, apparently a tender from the Ministry of Interior, shows the government plans to purchase more than 1.6 million new tear gas canisters. That is more tear gas canisters than there are citizens of Bahrain.
In response, a group of NGOs composed of Bahrain Watch, Campaign Against Arms Trade, Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain, and the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) has launched a campaign to flood Bahrain’s tear gas suppliers with e-mails, tweets (@StopTheShipment), faxes, and phone calls, to call on them to stop the shipment. The campaign targeted both the manufacturers of tear gas in South Korea, South Africa and Germany, and export licensing authorities. Campaigners have already sent over 394,000 e-mails, but more action is needed to build pressure and force a halt in tear gas exports to Bahrain.
Since 2011, 39 deaths have been attributed to the misuse of tear gas by police, reports Physicians for Human Rights, as well as contributing to miscarriages, sickle cell disease deaths, blindness and serious respiratory illnesses.
According to Bahrain Watch, no shipment of these canisters has yet taken place, but it could happen at any time, given that the tender is dated June 2013.
Bahrain has historically used US-origin tear gas, but the State Department apparently blocked further US exports over concerns about its “excessive use” in May 2012, reports BCHR.
With enough public and media pressure the campaign could result in export licenses being revoked, and shipments being blocked similar to what has happened previously with US-made tear gas products.
“We have never seen a document like this before,” said Bahrain Watch member Bill Marczak. “Now, we have a unique opportunity to come together and save lives, by blocking upcoming deliveries of tear gas to Bahrain. Let’s stop these shipments before it is too late.”
Leaked Ministry of Interior document shows massive new tear gas shipment planned for Bahrain