14 NGOs (listed below) articulated a joint letter reaching out to delegates of participating members of the Human Rights Council detailing the latest development in Bahrain’s human rights situation, specifically the crackdown on freedoms of expression and opinion and freedom of peaceful assembly.
The letter explains the clampdown on freedom of expression and how it has reached its highest point whereby those exercising such a right are constantly prosecuted with many human rights defenders and activists imprisoned simply for posting on social media platforms such as Twitter. The arrests of prominent national and political figures like Sheikh Ali Salman (Wefaq’s Secretary General), Ebrahim Sharif (former Wa’ad SG) and Majid Milad (Member of Wefaq’s General Secretariat) were highlighted. The NGOs referred to the gross exploitation of the judiciary by issuing capricious punishments against opposition members.
The letter further elaborated on how the Bahraini Government has largely failed to properly implement the accepted recommendations posed by the Bahrain Independent Commission Inquiry (BICI) if November 2011 as well as those posed by the UNHRC in 2012.
The letter stressed on the urgency of the ongoing unlawful and grave violations against the Bahrainis while international condemnations and demands are constantly ignored. Such examples include the impunity provided to human rights abusers, and the Jaw Prison crisis of March 2015 that unfolded during the 29th Session of the HRC.
The letter urged HRC members to push for the nomination of a Special Rapporteur to Bahrain due to the deliberate noncompliance with international obligations and agreements as well as the non-adherence to international processes. It also calls to establish a UN commissioned fact-finding committee to investigate those reported violations.
The letter concluded by strongly urging for the application of significant pressure on the Government to ensure the BICI and UNHRC recommendations are expeditiously implemented, and to release all prisoners of conscience without reprisals or obligations as well as establishing a positive environment to allow for meaningful dialogue between the opposition and the Bahraini Government to accomplish national reconciliation and social justice.
The signatory organizations are as follows:
Salam for Democracy and Human Rights
Justice Human Rights
Bahrain Human Rights Observatory
Bahrain Forum for Human Rights
European-Bahraini Organization for Human Rights
Bahrain Human Rights Society
Lualua Center for Human Rights
Khiam Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture
International Center for Supporting Rights and Freedoms
International Council Supporting Fair Trial and Human Rights
Amman Center for Human Rights Studies
Aman Network for the Rehabilitation and Defense of Human Rights
Gulf Forum for Civil Society Enterprises