The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses concern that the Bahraini regime and the regimes of the neighbouring Gulf States utilise mutual safety and security agreements to limit public liberties and impose punishments against the activists. The United Arab Emirates denied entry to Bahraini activist and journalist Ahmed Radhi on Wednesday, 30 July 2014, and informed him that his name is on the list of banned people on orders from supreme bodies.
Rahdi stated that when he arrived at Dubai International Airport on Wednesday afternoon, 30 July 2014, to spend his Eid vacation, the airport employee asked him to come to the security room where he was informed that he was viewed as a threat to national security and, as a result, the supreme bodies had issued orders to ban him from entering Emirati lands. After being detained for 15 hours, he was deported back to Bahrain. Radhi also reported that there were two other Bahraini families who were being deported, but that he was unable to identify them personally. Radhi was previously arrested on 16 May 2012 and held without trail until his release on 20 September 2012 and is also prohibited from travelling through King Fahd Causeway. Radhi believes that the decision from Security Apparatus at the Bahraini Ministry of Interior to issue a travel ban is an act of retaliation due to his media activity.
Since February 2011, the BCHR has documented several cases wherein activists and journalists are banned from entering or freely exiting Bahrain due to their peaceful, public work. Security forces at the Emirates airport have previously banned journalist Reem Khalifa and the Editor-in-Chief of Al-Wasat newspaper Mansoor Al-Jamri from entering without providing any justification. The airport security forces in Bahrain denied entry to Kuwaiti human rights activist and Frontline Defenders member Nawaf Al-Hindal in March 2013, after stopping him at the airport and questioning him regarding him meeting Bahraini activists and human rights activists.
The BCHR believes that the Bahraini government, as well as its allies in the Gulf, utilise vague treaties and laws such as the Gulf Security Agreement, to restrict public liberties. In its comment on the Agreement’s articles, Human Rights Watch said that the signatories would be able to use this agreement to suppress freedom of expression and undermine citizens’ and residents’ right to privacy. The BCHR considers the continued use of these procedures a blatant violation of the freedom of movement and travel as stated in Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states, “Everyone lawfully within the territory of a State shall, within that territory, have the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence. Everyone shall be free to leave any country, including his own. The above-mentioned rights shall not be subject to any restrictions except those which are provided by law.” The Gulf Security Agreement also violates Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that states, “Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.”
Based on the above, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights calls on the United States, United Kingdom, United Nations and all the other close allies and relevant international institutes to pressure the government of Bahrain to:
- Annul all the agreements and regulations that restrict public liberties;
- Fulfil its international obligation towards the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights endorsed by it, so that their regulations and agreements are consistent with its texts and provisions;
- Hold accountable all those implicated in the violations whether by executing, supervising, or ordering, and to question them and especially the higher ranking ones.