Letter to UN re repatriation of Bahraini citizens stranded in Iran

Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598, Wembley, London, United Kingdom, HA9 7XH
Tel: (+44) 20 8904 4222
E-mail: info@ihrc.org Web: www.ihrc.org

The Islamic Human Rights Commission is an NGO in
Special Consultative Status with the Economic and
Social Council of the United Nations.
H.E. António Guterres
Secretary-General
United Nations Secretariat Building
New York
NY 10017, USA
27 February 2020

Dear Secretary-General,

RE: Bahrain’s refusal to admit citizens returning from Iran

I am writing to draw your attention to the plight of Bahraini citizens currently stranded in Iran as a result of Manama’s refusal to allow them to re-enter the kingdom following the outbreak of Covid-19.

Reports suggest that approximately 1000 Bahrainis are stuck in Mashhad with another 1000 elsewhere in Iran after Manama blocked them from returning owing to fears that the virus may spread in Bahrain.

Although most if not all of the small number of cases diagnosed in Bahrain link back to Iran, there is nothing to suggest that any of the stranded citizens have contracted the Coronavirus.

Fear and panic, rather than good science appear to have driven the government’s decision.

Leaving its citizens to fend for themselves in a country that is struggling to fight it own outbreak of Covid-19 also puts them at increased risk of contracting the virus.

The decision is prejudicial to Bahraini citizens’ rights to be readmitted to their country and also to their health and general welfare.

The decision seems all the bizarre considering the Bahraini government’s evacuation of its citizens from Iraq following the US’ assassination of General Qassem Soleimani in January. At the time the government arranged for the national carrier to bring home up to 1500 citizens whom it considered to be at risk from reprisal attacks.

Iran is already struggling to contain the crisis which has been exacerbated by US sanctions that have led to a severe shortage of medical equipment and medicines in the country.

We urge you to take all the necessary steps to pressure the government of Bahrain to repatriate its citizens immediately.

Yours sincerely,
Massoud Shadjareh
Chair
IHRC

CC Mr. Daniel Puras – Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health,
srhealth@ohchr.org

Mr. Fernand De Varennes – Special Rapporteur on minority issues
minorityissues@ohchr.org