PRESS RELEASE – Bahrain: UN alerted to human rights deterioration on anniversary of uprising


From: Islamic Human Rights Commission

13 February 2018

PRESS RELEASE – Bahrain: UN alerted to human rights deterioration on anniversary of uprising

On the anniversary of the 14 February 2011 popular uprising in Bahrain, IHRC has written to the United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres, to express concern over the ongoing violations of human rights in the kingdom.

Seven years on from the start of the national protest movement, driven by calls for the respect for human rights, democratic reforms, and an end to corruption, Bahrain’s government has continued its campaign of repression against its own citizens.

According to the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights today Bahrain has the highest incarceration rate for political prisoners anywhere in the Middle East. Some 4000 people out of a population of just 650,000 inhabitants are in prison for political activities.

Opposition parties have been dissolved by the government and their leaders thrown in jail. Military courts have been set up to try those charged with political offences that have been deemed to be acts of treason. Political activists, civil society organisations and religious leaders have been routinely persecuted and arrested by the government on the grounds of their political views or religious affiliation. Still others have seen their nationality stripped rendering them stateless.

Since 2010 the Bahraini government has carried out five executions by firing squad, effectively ending a de facto moratorium on the death penalty.

Religious discrimination against Bahrain’s majority Shia community has increased dramatically in the last year. Since June 2016 some 75 Shia religious clerics have been arrested, interrogated or had charges laid against them for offences including “illegal assembly”, “inciting hatred against the regime” or “offending the Constitution”.

Despite intensified efforts in the last three years by the international community, culminating in three EU resolutions, four EU parliamentary questions and three UN reports by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Killings and the Special Rapporteur on Torture, IHRC is deeply concerned that the human rights situation in Bahrain continues to deteriorate.

IHRC urges the international community to immediately stop approving all arms exports to Bahrain, arms that are used to violate the human rights of its citizens. We also urge the international community to apply pressure on Bahrain to end the culture of impunity that ensures that both the policymakers and perpetrators of torture remain in positions of authority. Bahrain must be pressured to allow democratic reforms to take place, strike off citizenship revocation laws and allow human rights defenders and activists to freely express themselves and to report human rights violations in Bahrain.

IHRC chair Massoud Shadjareh said: “It is high time the international community took effective action to end the years of torture and abuses being committed by the Bahraini regime. It is precisely because of the world’s silence and apathy that human rights violations have become a systemic part of Bahrain’s political culture.”

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Notes to editors: The full transcript of the letter can be read online here


IHRC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

Islamic Human Rights Commission
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Telephone (+44) 20 8904 4222
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