Bahrain: NPWJ supports visit of opposition leaders in Brussels to promote meaningful democratic reform and respect of human rights

18 Mar, 2015 | Press Releases

Brussels, 17-18 March 2016

On 17-18 March 2016, 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 delegation included Radhi Al-Mosawi, Secretary General of “Waad ” Society (National Democratic Action Society), Ms Fareda Ghulam, women’s rights activist and Vice Secretary of Waad (as well as wife of Ibrahim Sharif, a prominent opposition figure), and Mr Abdulnabi Al Ekry, President of Bahrain Transparency Society.

Meetings were organised with officials of the European External Action Service (EEAS) in charge of GCC Countries, as well as with Members of the European Parliament and officials from the Secretariate of the Sub-Committee on Human Rights of the European Parliament. No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) also convened a roundtable discussion, together with representatives from international NGOs, including International Crisis Group, Amnesty International Belgium, European Centre For Democracy and Human Rights, Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO).

The purpose of Bahraini Delegation’s visit was to highlight the intensified campaign of intimidation and threats carried out by the Bahraini authorities against political and civil society leaders of the opposition and human rights defenders, who are thriving to advance meaningful democratic reform, the rule of law and respect of human rights in the country.  Despite the Government of Bahrain’s public claims that it is working towards reform, repressive and retaliatory practices are still being used to silence any peaceful dissent.

Special focus was dedicated to the case of Ibrahim Sharif, who was convicted, on 24 February, to a new sentence of imprisonment (of one year), as an outcome of the trial brought against him further to his re-arrest on 11 July 2015 after giving a speech calling for democratic reforms. The arrest occurred only three weeks after he was released from prison, having served nearly all of a five-year sentence for peacefully calling for reform in 2011. The new charges  brought against him and the verdict issued by the Bahrain’s fourth criminal court is yet another clear example of the Bahraini authorities’ unabated determination to criminalise free speech.
With Sharif back in detention, the rest of the Bahrain Thirteen and the Secretary General of the country’s largest opposition bloc al-Wefaq Sheikh Ali Salman still behind bars, almost the entire leadership of Bahrain’s political opposition is now in jail.

The Bahraini delegation also underscored clearly the need for support and engagement from the international community, and the European Union and its Member States in particular. Immediate concrete steps should be taken to make the Bahraini authorities accountable and comply with their obligations under international human rights laws and norms. First and foremost, they must respect and protect the fundamental rights of their citizens and engage in a real and inclusive dialogue with the peaceful opposition leaders and human rights advocates. They must also release immediately and unconditionally all prisoners of conscience who have been imprisoned solely for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly in Bahrain.

NPWJ’s Campaign to support human rights, democracy and accountability in  Bahrain
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.