Bahrain: NPWJ hosts roundtable with opposition leaders and calls for democratic reform and end of repression

12 Nov, 2014 | Press Releases

Brussels, 12 November 2014
On 12 November 2014, as part of a week-long tour of major European Cities, a Bahraini Delegation of opposition leaders visited Brussels for a series of meetings, facilitated by No Peace Without Justice, with EU institutions and human rights organisations. The visit aimed at drawing attention to the current situation in Bahrain and also to work with international partners in efforts to consolidate a serious and meaningful dialogue process that can lead to genuine democratic reform.   The delegation included Khalil Almarzooq, Political Assistant to the Secretary General of Al Wefaq and former Deputy Speaker of the Parliament, and Ali Alaswad, Resigned MP of Al Wefaq.

On this occasion, No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) convened a roundtable discussion to discuss the current situation and prospects for the future of the country, together with representatives from international NGOs, including Freedom House, FIDH and Human Rights Watch. The meeting provided an opportunity for the Bahraini delegation to highlight the ongoing deteriorated human rights situation in the country. Despite repeated promises to implement the recommendations issued by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) in November 2011 as well as by the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in May 2012, the government of Bahrain has failed to establish credible and impartial accountability mechanisms to address past violations and to prevent continuing abuses and thwarted any attempt to establish a meaningful and inclusive political dialogue with the opposition forces. Peaceful protesters, human rights activists and democracy advocates continue to face extra-judicial detentions, imprisonment, ill treatment and torture in detention centres.

The delegation also emphasized the risk that the upcoming legislative and municipal elections scheduled on 22 November 2014, will be used as a cover for the ongoing human rights crisis. The main coalition of opposition societies has taken the decision to not participate in these elections, due to the unabated campaign of repression against peaceful dissidents and leading opposition figures and the lack of serious reform having taken place, since their decision to leave parliament at the start of the crisis in February 2011. Key demands of the democratic movement are well-known: reform of the executive authority so as to truly represent the people of Bahrain; a full-power legislative and monitoring authority; an independent judiciary and a fair electoral system based on the one-person-one-voice principle.

The Bahraini delegation also underscored clearly the need for support and engagement throughout the region, which is essential to bring the country in the right path and will help anchor Bahrain to democracy and rule of law and to restore peace, stability and development. The international community has also a responsibility to ensure that the Bahraini authorities do not persist in the ongoing repressive and retaliatory strategy against democratic advocates rather than complying with their obligations. The international community should use the opportunity of this round of elections in Bahrain to finally use their influence to end violations of human rights, starting with the release of political prisoners, refuse to be satisfied by an exclusive electoral process and instead push for a real and inclusive dialogue with the opposition to reach a national consensus on a serious reform program.

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, please contact: Gianluca Eramo, MENA Democracy Program Coordinator, email:, phone: +32 2 548 39 12 or Nicola Giovannini on or +32 2 548 39 15.