For its last event of the Fall semester, on December 3rd, the AGS Middle East Society hosted a talk on the Human Rights Situation in the Gulf Region, highlighting Bahrain as one of the countries that participated in the Arab Spring in 2011.
The guest speakers were three human rights activists from Bahrain: Hussein Jawed, Chairman of the European-Bahraini Organisation for Human Rights, Said Yousif, Vice-president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, and his fellow activist Mohamed Sultan.
Below is an excerpt from the recount that they shared during the event. This quote reflects the perspective of its author. The American Graduate School in Paris respects freedom of expression and diversity of opinions (see AGS mission).
“Bahrain was influenced by the Arab Spring in 2011. Many of the people protested to demand true democracy and human rights. They were confronted with excessive force and violence by the government institutions, which received the support of Saudi Arabia. Over 140 people were killed either under torture during police custody, or by tear gas suffocation or extra-judicial killings. Amongst them were kids. Thousands were arrested and still linger behind prison bars, some of them serving harsh sentences of death penalty or life imprisonment. All human rights defenders in Bahrain are now either in jail or forced into exile, like myself. (…) Bahrain is a State Party of the United Nations’ International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which establishes the right of everyone to freedom of association and participation in the conduct of public affairs, allowing for only very narrow restrictions ‘necessary in a democratic society’ to protect national security and the rights and freedoms of others. However, these recommendations were never implemented by Bahrain in a responsible manner. (…) Bahrain authorities have to act in a responsible manner by respecting and guaranteeing human rights in every aspect.”
The AGS middle East Society is a platform for information and discussion about Middle Eastern politics, culture, and current issues. It was started as a student initiative in Fall 2015, with the support of AGS faculty members. Activities include regular guest talks, screenings or debates and are open to students, faculty and the wider public. More information at email@example.com.