“No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”. This is what is stated in Article Five of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which was approved by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948. SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights (SALAM DHR) have chosen this well-known article for our statement this year on the occasion of International Human Rights Day, to remind the world that the government of Bahrain, more than seventy years since this important historical document was established, is still practicing torture systematically and in various forms.
There are more than 4,000 political prisoners in Bahrain’s prisons. The vast majority of them are young people, including human rights activists, media professionals, photographers, athletes, and university and school students. They have been subjected to arbitrary arrests and torture, followed by long-term prison senences and sometimes the revoking of their citizenship. This is mainly the result of their opposition to the state’s discriminatory and corrupt policies, and because they have demanded for their full rights. Despite nine year having passed since mass protests took place, in which dozens were killed and injured, the authorities still carry out grave human rights violations.
Furthermore, the Bahraini government still refuses to allow the Special Rapporteur on torture to visit the country. The government fears that this may expose the truth about the deteriorating conditions of detainees in Bahrain’s prisons, which do not meet the most basic human rights standards.
This is a reminder that as people all over the world recognise the importance of human rights on this day, there are still repressive states, including Bahrain, which carry out violations that offend the human conscience.
As such, we call on the international community to hold the government of Bahrain accountable, stop the crime of torture, prosecute the perpetrators of this crime, and compensate and rehabilitate torture victims. We also call on all countries of the world to pressure the government of Bahrain to fulfil its international obligations.