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    Bahrain has used denaturalization as a tool against individuals expressing dissent regarding the government’s decision, and now it's using it against children.  

    Read the full report here.

    Many among those whose  Bahraini citizenship had been revoked were active members of the civil society, including human rights activists, journalists and opposition and religious figures. The  majority of those stripped of citizenship have also been rendered stateless.  

    Stateless persons have no recognised rights in Bahrain, and their ability to obtain and retain housing, employment, legal representation, banking facilities and medical aid are all severely restricted. In the past fours years, 352 Bahrainis were rendered stateless following the 2011 pro-democracy uprisings. An unprecedented number of citizenship revocations occurred in 2015, when a ministerial order was issued to denaturalize 72 individuals. Later in that same year, the authorities revoked citizenship of 136 defendants through  the courts over politically motivated charges. The year 2016 saw an alarming rate of citizenship revocations. The total number of people rendered  stateless in 2016 in Bahrain was 92 in primary courts. The revocation of citizenship is also being levied at the families of such individuals and is a form of punishment orchestrated by the state to quell opposition and manipulate the population demographic.

    In recent years, cases of children of dissidents denied nationality documents were frequently reported. It appears as a means to place pressure on the wanted fathers to submit themselves for arrest or an increased punishment for those already arrested. By refusing to issue documents confirming the nationality of the child, or identification documents, the state increases the pressure placed on families of dissidents.


    BCHR has verified a total of 13 cases where children have been denied citizenship documents by Bahraini authorities. These children were born between 2013 and 2016.

    Of these cases, 10 of the children have a Bahraini father who is still a Bahraini citizen, thus meeting the mandatory requirement for the child to be given Bahraini nationality. Another three children were born to Bahraini fathers who had their citizenship revoked. 9 of these children were born to a father who is wanted, that is in hiding or has left Bahrain out of fear of arrest. Even though both the father and the mother of these children are Bahraini citizens, the children lack any citizenship documents, even years after birth. In at least 2 of the cases, the father is detained in a Bahraini prison, but the authorities have made it impossible for him to sign the necessary documents to apply for the citizenship document for his child. By denying these children their citizenship documents, the Bahraini government has rendered them stateless.

    Read the full report here.

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    The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) is gravely concerned about recent attempts by the Bahraini authorities to intimidate human rights defenders in exile in order to prevent them from pursuing their human rights work. Bahraini human rights defenders are receiving threats on social media networks or via messenger networks targeting family members in Bahrain, and relatives are summoned by police for interrogation at the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) without an explanation.

    Recently, the family of human rights defender Sayed Ahmed Al-Wadaei, director of advocacy at the Bahrain Institute for Human Rights (BIRD), was directly targeted after earlier threats. His brother-in-law and mother-in-law were detained by the authorities. On 2 March at 3:40AM, 18-year-old Nazar Sayed Namaa Al-Wadaei, his brother-in-law, was arrested in Jid Ali, calling his family two hours later from the CID. According to his mother’s testimony to a family relative, her son claimed the authorities tortured him during interrogation. On the same day, police dressed in civilian clothes arrived at the house of Al-Wadaei’s mother-in-law’s, Hajar Mansoor Hasan, around 1PM and summoned her for interrogation at CID. The authorities refused to reveal the grounds for the summons. On 8 March 2017, Mansoor was presented to the public prosecution which has order to keep her in detention for another 30 days pending investigation. The charges against her are not clear yet.

    Sayed Ahmed Al-Wedaei is a victim of reprisals by the Bahraini authorities, as his citizenship was revoked in February 2015 due to his human rights work and he continues to live in exile.

    In October 2016, his wife Duaa Al-Wadaei, was prevented from travelling, then briefly detained along with their 18-month-old baby, while being questioned about her husband’s activity, and mistreated at the Bahrain airport.

    These renewed reprisals actions come as part of an ongoing reprisal and threats campaign targeting human rights defenders both directly, and indirectly, through their family members to stop their activism.

    On 14 February 2017, Said Yousif Al-Muhafdha, Vice President of BCHR, received threatening  messages through the photo social network Instagram, from the user account “yousif_ssfc,” who is believed to be Yousif Al-Manaai, a member of the National Security Agency in Bahrain. In the message, Al-Manaai threatens Al-Muhafdha by saying that  he should not “cross his borders” or else his brothers will be targeted. He adds that “there is no accountability” and call Al-Muhafdha to stop tweeting, as “whatever you do, your family will bear the cost.” Al-Muhafdha has been forced to live in exile since October 2013, after being a target of arbitrary arrests and prosecution for his human rights work in Bahrain.

    Three days ago, on 7 March 2017, Al-Muhafdha received an anonymous message via Whatsapp from a person claiming to belong to a Bahraini government body which threatened his family in Bahrain.

    Said Yousif Al-Muhafdha says: “This is an attempt by the Bahraini government to intimidate human rights activists. They are targeting our families to silence us!”

    The implementation of such threats of reprisals against relatives of activists is not a recent practice in Bahrain.

    Sumaya Rajab, wife of prominent human rights defender Nabeel Rajab, BCHR’s President, was fired from her work place due to her husband’s human rights work, and their son and daughter suffered harassment in school during the past years because their father is a well-known human rights defender who has peacefully criticized human rights abuses by the Bahraini authorities.

    Rajab has been kept in pre-trial detention since 13 June 2016, when he was arrested for “spreading false news and rumours about the internal situation in a bid to discredit Bahrain” during televised interviews with international news agencies and for tweets criticizing the war in Yemen and torture practices in Bahraini Jau Prison. Rajab was subsequently charged for articles published in the New York Times and Le Monde. He was released on bail in one case on 28 December but was immediately arrested in another. He is detained for over 260 days now, awaiting trial on 22 March in relation to his tweets, and again on 16 April, in relation to his televised statements.

    BCHR calls on the government of Bahrain to:

    • immediately and unconditionally release Nazar Sayed Namaa Al-Wadaei and Hajar Mansoor Hasan from detention and put an end to unjustified interrogation summons;
    • end the practice of harassing human rights defenders through threats targeting their families; and
    • duly investigate and punish Bahraini government agents issuing threats against family members due to human rights activism.

    BCHR calls on the international community to:

    • condemn practices of intimidation endorsed by the Bahraini government; and
    • call on Bahrain to uphold its international human rights obligations and put an end to any means of intimidation targeting human rights activists and their families.
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    The EU recognises the challenges that Bahrain faces as well as the progress made with the establishment of a number of institutions designed to enhance the protection of human rights in the country. The EU encourages the Government of Bahrain to aim for stability through further reforms and inclusive reconciliation in an environment where peaceful political grievances can be expressed freely, and where violence has no place. The human rights situation has deteriorated on many fronts over the past year, in particular cases of revocation of nationality, increased restrictions on civil society and the dissolution of Al Wefaq. The EU calls upon all parties to engage in an inclusive dialogue and condemns the use of violence as a political instrument.  We greatly regret the authorities’ recent decision to resume executions, urging Bahrain once again to establish an official moratorium on the death penalty.

    Read the entire statement here.

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    We urge the Government of Bahrain to guarantee human rights and freedoms for all its citizens. The UK is committed to working with Bahrain to implement its reform agenda and strengthen human rights. We are concerned by the resumption of the use of the death penalty in Bahrain and Kuwait. We oppose capital sentences in all circumstances.

    Read the entire statement here.

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    Mr. President,

    Alsalam Foundation, with Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain, the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, and the Bahrain Center for Human Rights would like to thank the Special Procedures for their dedicated work on behalf of victims of human rights abuses worldwide. In many countries where no domestic recourse is available, communications with the Special Procedures remains one of the only means of redress.

    This session, the mandates have raised serious concerns in six communications with Bahrain. The mandates expressed their continued alarm over the arbitrary arrest, detention, and prosecution of human rights defender Nabeel Rajab for his work documenting abuses. They also raised the case of Al-Wefaq, the largest opposition society in Bahrain, which was arbitrarily dissolved by the government earlier this year. Bahraini authorities mirrored this move just days ago, when they launched new legal proceedings to dissolve the Wa’ad political society, Bahrain’s other major opposition group. The Special Procedures additionally expressed deep concern over the “systematic persecution and repression of the Shias,” including religious leaders, peaceful dissidents, and human rights defenders. Some communications directly referred to the Bahraini government’s interference in access to the HRC, with the Special Procedures noting numerous cases of human rights defenders being banned from traveling to Geneva to take part in recent sessions.

    We therefore reiterate the High Commissioner’s call for Bahrain to allow the Special Procedures unrestricted access to the country – and particularly the special rapporteurs on torture – so that they might monitor and investigate these increasing reports of abuse.

    Thank you

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    Amnesty International has today called on the King of Bahrain to refrain from ratifying a constitutional amendment that would enable military courts to try civilians, paving the way to further human rights violations. This call comes after the Shura Council, Bahrain’s Consultative Council, voted unanimously in favour of the amendment to Article 105 (b) of the Constitution on 5 March and after it had been voted in favour by Parliament on 21 February. The amendment has now been passed to the King for ratification and could be ratified imminently.

    Access full report here

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    The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) said it is deeply concerned about the recent alarming increase in the use of incommunicado detention by the Bahraini authorities.

    In a statement issued on its website (March 8, 2017), the center said, "In the month of February 2017 alone, BCHR was able to document at least 10 cases of people arrested and detained without access to their lawyers, nor being granted free access to communicate with or receive visits from their families. It's under such conditions that the risk of being subjected to torture increases."

    Read full article here

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    It’s been a busy year for executioners—at least in the Middle East. On January 15, the kingdom of Bahrain shot and killed three men in its first executions since 2010. Ten days later, Kuwait led seven men to the gallows in its first state-sanctioned killings since 2013. Then, on March 4, Jordan hung 15 men at dawn, the largest single-day execution since the country brought back the death penalty in December 2014.

    Read full article here

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    A prominent Bahraini doctor jailed for five years in connection with the 2011 Arab Spring uprising for democracy was released from prison on Friday, a lawyer and witness said.

    Ali al-Ekry was among 20 medics, all Shi'ite Muslims, who were sentenced in September 2011 to prison terms ranging from five to 15 years on charges including occupying a hospital, theft of medical equipment and incitement to topple the state.

    Read more here

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    The trial of jailed Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab on charges of spreading “rumours and false news” was deferred for a second time on 7 March until 16 April. The charges relate to televised interviews in 2014 and 2015 in which he criticised authorities. In the meantime, he remains in detention after being denied bail.

    Read more here

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    IF THERE is an Exhibit A for how the ascent of the Trump administration is leading to the deterioration of human rights in other countries, it is Bahrain — an island kingdom in the Persian Gulf that is the host of the U.S. 5th Fleet. Since 2011, when its majority-Shiite population revolted during the Arab Spring, the Sunni monarchy has engaged in serial campaigns of repression, interspersed with gestures at liberalization aimed at appeasing the United States.

    Read the full article here

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    Amnesty International this week urged President Trump not to approve impending arms sales to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. The deals would arm members of a military coalition that has attacked thousands of civilians in Yemen and violated international humanitarian law. Amnesty International researchers have already found both unexploded U.S. bombs and identifiable fragments of exploded U.S. bombs among the ruins of Yemeni homes and other civilian objects.

    Continue reading here

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    Human Rights Watch is deeply concerned about the many serious human rights situations on which this Council has failed to take any meaningful action:

    The situation in Bahrain deteriorated further in the latter half of 2016. The government has intensified its attacks on rights to freedom of expression, assembly, and association, including dissolution of the country’s main opposition group, Al-Wifaq, arbitrary stripping of citizenship from Bahrainis who have been critical of the government, and subjecting civil society actors to arbitrary travel bans. Authorities also made little progress in holding officials accountable for the mistreatment and torture of detainees. Emboldened by the silence of the international community, during this session of the Council alone the Bahraini authorities once again postponed the trial of human rights defender Nabeel Rajab, who remains in jail and faces charges that violate his right to free speech, and the Shura council approved an amendment to the constitution that will allow for civilians to be tried in military courts. The Council should immediately take collective action to address the worsening situation in Bahrain.

    Continue reading here

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    A Bahraini court on Tuesday delayed a ruling in the trial of the spiritual leader of the country's Shi'ite Muslim majority on charges of collecting funds illegally and money laundering, local media reported.

    Ayatollah Isa Qassim, who is in his mid-70s, faces up to 15 years in jail if convicted in the trial that has ratcheted up tensions in the Western-allied Gulf Arab state where the U.S. Fifth Fleet is based.

    Continue reading here

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    It’s been six years since Bahrain’s crown prince set out a vision of reform. The country was three weeks into mass protests, as the Arab Spring inspired thousands of ordinary Bahrainis to take to the streets to demand a political system based on inclusion rather than marginalisation. It was a brief glimpse into a possibility of a modern, liberal constitutional monarchy, the first of its kind in the Gulf.

    Read the full article here

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    We reiterate our call for the release of all arbitrarily detained persons in Bahrain, including the Danish-Bahraini citizen Mr. Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja; A victim of torture who needs treatment and rehabilitation. 

    Read the full statement here

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    Written statement submitted by Amnesty International, a non-governmental organization in special consultative status

    Resumption of executions

    Amnesty International is alarmed by the resumption of executions in Bahrain after a nearly seven-year hiatus, and condemns the execution of Ali Abdulshaheed al-Sankis, Sami Mirza Mshaima and Abbas Jamil Taher on 15 January 2017. They were sentenced to death after an unfair trial in relation to the killing of three policemen.

    Mohamed Ramadhan Issa Ali Hussain and Hussain Ali Moosa Hussain Mohamed are now at imminent risk of execution; both were sentenced to death after an unfair trial in relation to the killing of a policeman.

    Excessive use of force and clampdown on peaceful assembly

    The 15 January executions sparked protests in over 20 villages across Bahrain, with hundreds of people taking part. While some of the protests have been peaceful, others have been violent.

    Amnesty International is concerned about the Bahraini authorities’ use of excessive force in response to these protests. Security forces have used tear gas and shotguns firing birdshot against protesters and, in some cases, less-lethal riot control ammunition and live ammunition. Scores of protesters have been injured and many have been arrested. 

    Read the full statement here

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    Written statement submitted by the Alsalam Foundation, a non-governmental organization in special consultative status

    Alsalam Foundation, together with Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB), the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), and the European Center for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR) would like to take this opportunity at the 34th Session of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council (HRC) to discuss intensified violations of the rights to freedom of expression, assembly, association, and belief in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

    In the past year, the Bahraini government has carried out extrajudicial executions, suppressed political opposition societies, judicially harassed dozens of Shia religious leaders, further restricted independent media, and targeted activists for reprisal. Together, these actions represent an escalation of repression unprecedented since the 2011 State of National Safety.

    Read the full statement here

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    On 14 March at the 34th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, France issued a statement to highlight a few specific human rights issues. The French intervention focused on the situation of civilians in armed conflicts and crisis areas, the situation of human rights defenders and the use of the death penalty. Bahrain was mentioned in the section on the death penalty, in which France expresses its deep concern. 

    See the full statement in French below.

     

    Monsieur le Haut-Commissaire,

    La France s’associe à la déclaration de l’UE, et souhaite faire part de certaines préoccupations spécifiques qui touchent à la fois la situation des civils dans les conflits armés ou dans les zones de crises, la situation des défenseurs des droits ou encore le recours à la peine de mort.

    (1) Dans les conflits armés, les civils sont victimes de violations systématiques des droits de l’homme et du droit international humanitaire. Je ne citerai que deux cas qui sont dramatiquement d’actualité : en Syrie, nous exigeons que le régime ne prenne plus les civils pour cibles. Au Yémen, nous appelons toutes les parties à respecter les droits de l’Homme et le droit international humanitaire.

    (2) Les violations des droits de l’Homme ne se limitent toutefois pas aux pays en guerre, qu’il s’agisse de violations systématiques des libertés fondamentales, comme en Corée du Nord, ou de situations politiques très dégradées comme au Burundi, en République démocratique du Congo et au Soudan du Sud.

    Nous sommes aussi préoccupés par les exactions menées par des groupes armés contre les populations civiles comme dans les pays du bassin du Lac Tchad. Enfin, la lutte contre le terrorisme doit être menée dans le respect des droits de l’Homme et des libertés fondamentales, je pense notamment à l’Egypte.

    (3) La France est aussi très inquiète des atteintes et des menaces qui pèsent sur la société civile et les activités des défenseurs des droits, notamment en Chine, en Russie, en Turquie, et au Venezuela. Loin des projecteurs qui suivent les zones de guerre, ils ne doivent pas être oubliés.

    (4) Je voudrais enfin rappeler notre profonde préoccupation quant au recours persistant à la peine de mort, notamment en Chine, en Iran, en Arabie Saoudite, au Pakistan, en Irak, et aux Etats-Unis, ou à la reprise des exécutions au Nigéria, à Bahreïn, au Koweït ou en Jordanie. La France est également préoccupée par l’augmentation du nombre des victimes des exécutions extrajudiciaires aux Philippines.

    Nous continuerons enfin à agir de façon déterminée pour faire respecter l’interdiction absolue de la torture et des mauvais traitements.

    Je vous remercie./.

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    Human Rights Council – 34th session, Item 4 – General Debate

    Statement of the Czech Republic

    Thank you, Mr. President.

    The Czech Republic aligns itself with the EU statement.

    We are convinced that there is no effective protection and promotion of human rights when civil society organizations and individual human rights defenders are stifled. We regret to note that silencing voices of civil society is a sad reality in many parts of the world. The abduction and detention of human rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong is another attack on individuals those defending human rights of others in China. In Russia, the stigmatization of the country’s oldest human rights organization, Memorial International Society, as a “foreign agent” is another decimating blow against independent civic voices.

    We strongly condemn all human rights violations and abuses in Burundi and deeply regret that Burundian civil society actors, notably human rights defenders and journalists, have been a primary target of systematic repression by authorities.

    As a member of the core group of the HRC resolution on the rights to freedom of association and peaceful assembly we regret the current worrying trend of restrictions on these rights all around the world. We appreciate the current cooperation and dialogue between Egypt and the European Union, including in the area of human rights. Within this framework, we encourage the Egyptian government to support free and independent civil society.

    Further, we remain concerned by the executions in Iran, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and we renew our call to halt the application of the death penalty reminding that states parties of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights are obliged to limit its use and, in particular, to abolish it for other than the “most serious crimes”.

    We continue to be are concerned about the situation in Venezuela where dissidents such as Leopoldo López remain in jail and where the political deadlock has a dire effect on human rights. We are also alarmed about the spate of extrajudicial killings of alleged drug offenders in the Philippines encouraged from the highest level and we call on their prompt and impartial investigation and bringing all perpetrators to justice.

    We are deeply concerned by the serious violations and abuses of international human rights and humanitarian law reported from number of countries including Syria, Iraq (around Mosul), Yemen, South Sudan and Nigeria (its north-eastern part).

    Mr. President, the Czech Republic already addressed other serious situations in individual dialogues.

    Thank you.

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