Bahrain: NPWJ supports visit of opposition leaders in Brussels to call for ending repression and promoting meaningful political reform

20 Jan, 2015 | Press Releases

Brussels, 20 January 2015
On 20 January 2015, as part of a week-long tour of major European Cities, a Bahraini Delegation of opposition leaders visited Brussels for a series of meetings with EU institutions, organised with the support of No Peace Without Justice. 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, Ali Alaswad, Resigned MP of Al Wefaq, Radhi Al-Mosawi, Secretary General of “Waad ” Society (National Democratic Action Society), and Dr. Munira Fakhro, academic and Vice President of Waad Society (National Democratic Action Society), . Sheikh Ali Salman, Secretary General of Al Wefaq, was also due to join the delegation, although the arbitrary decision by the Bahraini authorities to ban him from travel has prevented him joining the delegation.

Meetings were organised with officials of the European External Action Service (EEAS) in charge of GCC Countries together with Stravros Lambrinidis, European Union Special Representative for Human Rights, as well as with MEP Ana Gomes and Alyn Smith, Member of the Delegation for relations with the Arab Peninsula.

The Bahraini delegation took opportunity of these meetings to highlight the ongoing deteriorated human rights situation in the country. While the Government of Bahrain continues to claim publicly it is working towards reform, the facts on the ground blatantly speak to the contrary. Further to the legislative and municipal elections held last November, which were boycotted and denounced as unfair and exclusive by the main opposition parties, the regime is persevering in its repressive and retaliatory practices rather than engaging in a real and inclusive dialogue in order to reach national consensus on a serious reform program.

Prominent civil society activists and human rights defenders are still being exposed routinely to harassment, arbitrary detention and imprisonment, ill-treatment and unfair and politically motivated trials leading to harsh sentences for having participated in peaceful demonstrations or criticised officials. The arrest and detention since 28 december of Sheikh Ali Salman, the Secretary General of Al Wefaq National Islamic Society, the largest opposition party in Bahrain, further demonstrates the unabated determination of the Bahraini authorities to suppress any peaceful dissent and nonviolent quest for meaningful democratic reform, rule of law and respect of human rights in the country.

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 response of the international community to the continued and violent assault on Bahrainis’ civic and political freedoms has, so far, been weak and deaf to the plight of the Bahraini citizens. It is way past time for the international community to take immediate concrete steps to make the Bahraini authorities accountable and comply with their obligations under international human rights laws and norms.

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 or +32-2-548-3912 or Nicola Giovannini on or +32-2-548-3915.