Bahrain: NPWJ holds the authorities accountable for any reprisals against human rights defenders

27 May, 2012 | Press Releases

Brussels-Rome, 27 May 2012
On 25 May 2012, the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review of Bahrain, convened under the auspices of the UN Human Rights Council, adopted its report assessing the country’s human rights record. This report contains the concerns expressed by the large majority of the 67 States taking part in the UPR session on referred human rights and fundamental freedoms violations, as well as the 176 recommendation that have been addressed to the Bahraini Government. The President of the Human Rights Council (HRC), Laura Dupuy Lasserre, took this opportunity to express her concerns about the ongoing Media Campaign of intimidation in Bahrain against human rights activists and opposition members who have participated to HRC activities, and urged the Bahraini authorities to prevent such acts and to provide adequate protection in that respect.

The Bahraini human rights defenders who were mentioned by the President of the HRC as having been subject of threats include Lamees Dhaif, Sayed Hadi AlMosawi, Jalila AlSalman, Taha Alderazi and Faisal Hayat, all of whom took part in a meeting on “Towards Justice for Bahrain” organised on 21 May 2012 by The Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT), in partnership with No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ), at the United Nations Office on the occasion of the UPR session on Bahrain.

Statement by Niccolo’ Figa-Talamanca, Secretary-General of No Peace Without Justice:

“No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) and the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT) firmly condemn the ongoing campaign of intimidation and threats, be it through State-controlled media or other means, against Bahraini human rights activists and opposition members attending the UPR to testify about the deplorable human rights record in their country.

“As stated by the President of the Human Rights Council, any attempt at intimidation or reprisals against persons or groups for cooperating with United Nations human rights mechanisms, such as the UPR,are inconsistent with the well established and pivotal policies of democratic participation inspiring the United Nations.

“The statement issued on 26 May 2012 by the Minister of Interior of Bahrain, announcing that these latter would be interrogated on their return to the country and that possible legal actions could be taken against them further demonstrates the inability of the regime to respond favourably to the HRC recommendations. Bahrain’s political opposition and constituents continue to face exclusion or neglect, greatly hampering the possibility of any meaningful change for the county’s political future, in both the short- and long-term.

“If the Government is sincere about reform, if it is truly committed to answering the Bahraini people’s demands for political rights and participation, it must protect rather than deny the fundamental rights of its citizens: freedom of expression must be respected and protected, all remaining prisoners of conscience should be immediately and unconditionally released, and credible accountability mechanisms for addressing continuing abuses should be established.

“Thus far, the people of Bahrain have persevered alone in their pursuit of a free and democratic Bahrain. Their success in achieving this goal will require the support of both local and international actors. Today, it is even more urgent for the international community to abide to its duty and responsibility to protect those who are threatened for advocating openly for the end of the longstanding culture of impunity that remains intact in the country to this day.

“We urge the international community to demand that Bahrain complies with its responsibilities and implements all necessary measures to ensure that its citizens can actively engage in democratic reform and contribute to the anchoring of their country’s future on democracy, rule of law and respect of fundamental human rights.”

For further information, contact Isabelle de Ghellinck on or +32-494-533 912 – Nicola Giovannini on or +32-2-548-39 15.