Bahraini opposition leaders meet in Brussels and call for international support to stop repression and promote meaningful political reform

22 Jan, 2014 | Press Releases

Brussels, 22 January 2014

On 22 January 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 with EU institutions and human rights organisations, 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 Radhi Al-Mosawi, Secretary General of “Waad ” Society (National Democratic Action Society), Abdulnabi Salman, Secretary General of Al-Minbar Society (Democratic Progressive Tribune), Abduljalil Khalil, Resigned MP and former Head of Al Wefaq Parliamentary Bloc and Ali Alaswad, Resigned MP of Al Wefaq. 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.

On this occasion, No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) hosted a roundtable discussion to discuss the current situation and prospects for the future of the country. The meeting, which was hosted by Niccolo’ Figa’-Talamanca, NPWJ Secretary-General, in NPWJ Brussels office, saw the participation of representatives from Human Rights Watch, FIDH, Carnegie Europe, Partnership for Democratic Change International (PDCI), Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF). The Sub-Committee on Human Rights of the European Parliament, in cooperation with NPWJ, also hosted a special meeting which was chaired by MEP Ana Gomes and attended by representatives of all political groups.

Both meetings provided a unique opportunity for the Bahraini delegation to highlight the ongoing deteriorated human rights situation in the country. Almost three years after its violent response to citizens’ rallies demanding political reform, the regime in Bahrain has failed to deliver any meaningful reform program. Worse, it continues to suppress peaceful dissent and denies to a majority of Bahrainis their fundamental rights on a daily basis. Severe restrictions on the right to freedom of expression and association persist unabated. Prominent civil society activists and human rights defenders, including minors, 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.

As highlighted by the Bahraini opposition leaders, if Government of Bahrain is sincere about reform, it must,  first and foremost, release all remaining prisoners of conscience and human rights defenders in detention for exercising their right to free expression and peaceful assembly be released without further delay. A peaceful solution to the current human rights’ crisis in Bahrain will be achieved only if all those who are committed to peaceful and nonviolent dialogue are free to contribute fully to the process. The Government of Bahrain must establish credible and impartial accountability mechanisms to address past violations and to prevent continuing abuses, as recommended by the BICI report and the UPR mechanism. It must also effectively investigate all allegations of torture, ill-treatment, enforced disappearances and other human rights violations and bring those responsible before a court of law.  Bahraini authorities should also cooperate fully with the human rights monitoring mechanisms of the United Nations and its Special Rapporteurs, in order to allow for an independent assessment of human rights conditions, particularly on freedom of association and assembly, on the situation of human rights defenders, torture and free trial.

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.


For further information, contact Gianluca Eramo on or +32-2-548-3912 or Nicola Giovannini on or +32-2-548-3915.