Bahraini civil society leaders meet in The Hague and call for international support to stop repression and promote respect for human rights in Bahrain

20 Nov, 2012 | Press Releases

The Hague, Netherlands – 20 November 2012

On 19 November 2012, a delegation of Bahraini civil society and human rights organisations has gathered in the Hague to meet with States and international civil society. The purpose of the meeting is to put the spotlight on the worsening human rights situation in Bahrain.

On this occasion, No Peace Without Justice hosted a press conference “What accountability for atrocities and persecution in Bahrain?”,  on the margins of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) to the International Criminal Courttoday at 10 am (Everest 1 Room at the World Forum).

Members of Bahraini civil society and human rights organisations spoke about personal experiences of violations, including detention and mistreatment in custody, shared their hopes for a future democratic society, and advocated for the implementation of Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) and Universal Periodic Review (UPR) recommendations.
Among those present were human rights and political opposition leaders who were stripped of their nationality last week, accused of ‘undermining state security’, and others who have been imprisoned and tortured for their commitment to human rights. Speakers included:

  • Khalil Al Marzooq, resigned deputy Speaker of parliament, Leader of the Parliamentary Opposition, head of the majority (Al-Wefaq) former parliamentary delegation;
  • Nada Dhaif, head of BRAVO, (the NGO created by the medics and other professionals who were arrested and tortured);
  • Maryam Al Khawaja, interim head of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights;
  • Hameed Al Moulla, President of the Bahrain Bar Association.

Bahrain one year on
The visit of the Bahraini civil society delegation is taking place one year on from the publication of the Report of the BICI and 6 months after the adoption of the UPR, which contained 176 recommendations that included the ratification of the Rome Statute of the ICC.  The BICI was established on 29 June 2011 and was tasked with investigating and reporting on the events that took place in Bahrain from February 2011. The final Report of the BICI was published and submitted to the Government of Bahrain on 23 November 2011. One year later, the authorities have failed to implement many of the BICI recommendations; not only are human rights violations in Bahrain continuing – they are growing in magnitude and in number.

The violations have included mistreatment in custody, systemic torture, excessive use of force including teargas and violent suppression of peaceful protest. In a worrying development, children are now being targeted: since the publication of the BICI report, 12 children have been killed. In addition, the authorities have implemented temporary blockades of Alekr and other villages known for daily protests. Bahraini civil society, activists and human rights defenders are increasingly being targeted and on 7 November 2012, the citizenship of 31 Bahrainis was revoked illegally contrary to the Bahraini Constitution and law.

One year on from the BICI report, there are still 1,800 prisoners of conscience – approximately 80 of whom are children under the age of 18. Furthermore, over 100 persons out of the 2,535 who were illegally terminated from employment have not yet been reinstated and the majority of those who have been re-employed were demoted and/or given new contracts. They were also forced to sign pledges stating that they would no longer participate in any political activities.

There is still no national or international accountability for any of these violations, much less for the violations identified in the BICI report. In the last 12 months, international media attention has shifted away from Bahrain. This is in large part due to the Government of Bahrain hiring up to 13 public relations companies with the objective of creating a façade of progress.

This delegation of Bahraini Civil Society and Human Rights Organisations call for international support from Governments, International NGOs and the media to redress these violations, be more assertive with Government of Bahrain to stop repression and promote respect for human rights in Bahrain.

For more information and to arrange media interviews, please contact GCC Law & Media:
Geraldine Coughlan +31 6209 808 59
Richard Walker +31 6204 713 88


Watch the audio-video recording of the event