SALAM condemns Bahrain's government's policy of "collective punishment" and its refusal to issue a passport and identity card for the child Sarah daughter of the imprisoned Secretary-General of Al Wefaq Society Sheikh Ali Salman

SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights expresses its deep concern over the use of the Bahraini authorities of the children of political and rights activists, and dissidents as a pressure card. The arbitrary deprivation of nationality against the children of detainees born during the period when their parents are in prison for demandingpolitical and civil rights.

This is considered a violation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by Bahrain in 1989 by Decree-Law No. 16 of 1991, on 13 February 1992, which affirmed the need to ensure their well-being and development.

The right to a nationality is also recognized in a range of legal instruments, international conventions on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which explicitly and universally prohibit arbitrary deprivation of nationality. Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights explicitly states that no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality and that the General Assembly, in its resolution 50/152, avoids the fundamental nature of prohibiting the arbitrary deprivation of any person.

SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights denounces the refusal of the Bahraini Ministry of Interior and the Central Information Agency to issue a passport and an identity card for the child, “Sara Ali Salman,” the daughter of the political detainee and the opposition leader, Sheikh Ali Salman.

The reasons of this refusal are; administrative procedures which require the presence of the father personally and not the mother of what is considered another discrimination practiced by the Bahraini authorities against women.

It is yet worth mentioning that her father, “Sheikh Ali Salman” addressed Jau Central Prison’s and through a lawyer and his wife Mrs. Alia Ahmed Mansoor Radhi as well as the competent authorities and the judiciary to issue permission to allow him to be taken to the administration that require him to attend and sign, but these requests did not receive a response despite the passage of three years.

As a result of the Bahraini authorities’ use of the children in their conflict with the its dissidents, the child Sarah, who completes her fourth year in November, cannot obtain her civil rights such as education, health, treatment and travel in flagrant violation of the international treaties ratified by Bahrain, notably the Convention on the Rights of the Child Of the Bahraini Constitution, Article 17 that states: “Bahraini nationality shall be determined by law and may not be revoked fromthose who enjoy it except in the case of treason and other conditions specified by law”.

“When my youngest was 40 days, the Bahraini authorities arrested her father, Sheikh Ali Salman, who is still in prison for leading the demands for reform in Bahrain,” said Alia Ahmed Mansoor Radhi, the mother of the girl, Sarah. She added: “The Bahraini authorities have not only prevented our young daughter Sarah from living with her father but she is now also deprived of all her rights stipulated by the Constitution and cannot even have access to the services of education and treatment”.

“On more than one occasion and through lawyers, we have submitted applications for a passport and identity card to Sara, but the citizenship, passport and residency issues require her father to be present at the facility to apply for a passport and identity. We asked the prison administration and the court to allow Sheikh Ali to go to the Passport Department, but our repeated requests were rejected without any justification, and we were not even allowed to hire a lawyer to file the application on behalf of the sheikh” She noted.

“Our young Sarah cannot live a normal life What is this system that punishes a girl who has not completed her fourth year and prevents her from obtaining education and health services only because her father has demanded his rights and the rights of all citizens peacefully?” Mrs. Radhi wondered.

The Bahraini authorities arrested Sheikh Ali Salman in December 2014 and sentenced him to four years in prison after being charged with “inciting hatred of the regime, calling for the overthrow of the regime by force, insulting the judiciary, insulting the executive branch, People, bullying abroad, and broadcasting false data and news that would cause panic and disturb the security, and participate in rallies and gatherings that cause harm to the economy”. Salman is also being tried on false charges of “Spying for Qatar”.

On this says Ebtisam Alsaegh, our member in SALAM DHR: “The authorities not only fabricated all these malicious charges against Sheikh Ali Salman, but also wanted to punish him for his political and national stances through refusing to issue a passport or identity card to his daughter Sarah. This is unfortunately not the first and only victim of this policy of revenge and collective punishment carried out by the authority, where many of the families of political prisoners and human rights activists are constantly subjected to various types of harassment and deprivation of the most basic civil rights. The Bahraini authorities hit to the wall all agreements, covenants and international treaties that they have signed”.

 SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights calls for: 

1. That the Bahraini authorities abide by international conventions, especially the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
2. Amend the internal laws and develop political programs aimed at implementing the conventions that would achieve the best interests of the child.
3. Immediately stop the use of children as a card of political conflict and grant all children deprived of citizenship or civil documents because of the presence of their parents in prisons all of their rights.