In an intervention before the Human Rights Council:
Human rights in Bahrain continue to deteriorate

In United Nations Human Rights Council by CIHRS

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24th session of the Human Rights Council

Item 4 – Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention: Bahrain

17 September 2013

Delivered by Mariam Al-Khawaja

 

Thank you, Mr. President.

My name is Maryam Al-Khawaja, acting president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, and I speak on behalf of our partners CIVICUS and CIHRS.

The human rights situation in Bahrain unfortunately continues to deteriorate. In July legal amendments were made that further infringe on people’s basic rights to free assembly and free expression. The Ministry of Justice announced a new decision that any meetings between political societies and foreign embassies must be announced to the ministry and that they have the right to sit in on these meetings.

From mid-February until now, we have documented at least 1200 arbitrary arrests, including women and children, with some being tried under the terrorism law. In August alone, we documented at least 400 house raids. The visit of the special rapporteur has been effectively cancelled, and torture is rampant and systematic. Most of those arrested are forcibly disappeared for between several hours up to a week, during which time these people are ill-treated and at times tortured.

In this context CIVICUS and CIHRS stand in solidarity with the following imprisoned human rights defenders in Bahrain: Nabeel Rajab, Abdul-Hadi Al-Khawaja, Zainab Al-Khawaja, and Naji Fateel, who was severely tortured following his arrest in May this year.

Reprisals are still ongoing; just yesterday activists here at the Council were photographed repeatedly despite requests to the person taking the pictures to stop. We thank the 47 countries that signed the joint statement on Bahrain, but it is time to go a step further. We urge that there be a resolution on Bahrain at the next session of this Council.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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