UNHRC / Bahrain: Oral Statement by Ali Alaswad on behalf of the Radical Party

UN Human Rights Council, 28th Session, Geneva, 9 March 2015


 
In the framework of the 28th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council held in Geneva, Ali Al Aswad, former Bahraini MP and member of the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT), delivered an oral statement to highlight the ongoing campaign of repression against human rights defenders and opposition leaders in Bahrain.
 
 
My name is Ali Alaswad, a former Bahraini MP and I speak on behalf of the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty of which I am a member.
 
Mr. President, Bahrain has been a regular topic at this Council for the past four years due to its poor human rights record. Unfortunately, this continues to be the case as exemplified by the treatment of its brave human rights defenders.
 
In Bahrain we are fortunate to have many human rights leaders who are prepared to risk their freedom and lives to speak out against repression.
 
In the 1970’s talking about human rights was unacceptable but the courage of our leaders has meant that even the Government now pretends to respect human rights.
 
But there is a gap between their rhetoric and reality, and it is up to the members of this council to address this gap.
 
Mr President, you will be aware of Mr. Nabeel Rajab, the most prominent human rights defender in Bahrain. He would be here today making this very intervention, were he not banned from travel as part of the latest case being taken against him.
 
In the past few years Mr. Rajab has faced constant harassment, imprisonment and attempts at silencing. Whenever he is released from one sentence, another is prepared for him.
 
He is currently facing imprisonment for a single tweet. Likewise the opposition politician, Sayeed Jamal Kadhem, who is serving a 6-month sentence as we speak for a tweet.
 
Mr. President, I want to draw the council’s attention to the situation of Sheikh Ali Salman, the Secretary General of Al Wefaq, Bahrain’s main opposition society.
 
Mr. Salman has been in detention since the end of December 2014 and faces false charges that include inciting violence.
 
Mr. Salman is the leading supporter of peaceful, non-violent protest in Bahrain and has consistently rejected all forms of violence.
 
His detention is a clear signal that Bahrain wants to silence political dissent and has no respect for human rights defenders.
 
The respected High Commissioner, as well as five special experts have all called for his release, yet Bahrain keeps Mr. Salman in detention.
 
Mr. President, our message to this council is to make efforts to protect all human rights defenders in Bahrain. Freedom of expression and opinion is the right of all citizens and in Bahrain it should be no different.
 
Lasting peace in Bahrain hinges on the ability of peaceful leaders such as Mr. Rajab and Mr. Salman to play an active role in any political process.
 
 
Thank You. 
 

 
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NPWJ Bahrain Project
No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) supports Bahraini human rights organisations and activists in their efforts to promote a democratic and nonviolent political reform in Bahrain. It focuses on assisting human rights defenders and human rights advocates to secure effective and genuine accountability for past and ongoing violations of human rights, including through outreach, monitoring and documentation.

 
 
For further information, contact Gianluca Eramo on geramo@npwj.org or +32-2-548-3912 or Nicola Giovannini on ngiovannini@npwj.org or +32-2-548-3915.