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Arbitrary detention is a violation of human rights

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<p>The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) condemns the systematic policy of enforced disappearance of citizens, and affirms that &quot;the widespread and arbitrary detention by the government is a violation of human rights in accordance with international laws and covenants.&quot;</p>

<p>BCHR considers that the regime in Bahrain violates the internationally stipulated conventions that criminalize enforced disappearance as defined by the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance as follows: &ldquo;Arrest, detention, kidnapping, or any form of deprivation of liberty is carried out at the hands of State officials, persons or groups of individuals who act with permission or support from or with the consent of the state, followed by a refusal to recognize the deprivation of a person&#39;s freedom or the concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, which deprives him of the protection of law&rdquo;, (Article 2 of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from The disappearance Series).</p>

<p>At a time when Bahrain praises itself at international forums for promoting inter-religious tolerance in an attempt to cover the current crises in the world, religious persecution in Bahrain is growing; five clerics have recently been targeted and finally arrested on 20 January 2020, among whom cleric Sheikh Abdul Mohsen Mulla Attiya al-Jamri who was imprisoned for 7 days pending an investigation. On the same day, the cleric, Sheikh Ali Rahma, was called in for investigation because of a religious sermon.</p>

<p>Also, on 13 January 2020, the Bahraini security authorities decided to arrest Cleric Mulla &nbsp;Abdul Zahraa al-Samahiji (39 years) for a period of 7 days pending an investigation, due to a religious sermon. On 21 January 2020, the Public Prosecution decided to renew his detention for a period of 15 days, pending investigation. The Capital Police Directorate said that it summoned and arrested Al-Samahiji for delivering a sermon &quot;on one occasion that included legal violations&quot;, alleging that he had publicly assaulted &quot;the Prophet&rsquo;s Companions&quot;, noting that the case was referred to the prosecution.</p>

<p>Also, on 29 January 2020, the Bahraini security authorities decided to arrest Sheikh Mulla Qasim Zainuddin, who will be brought before the prosecution, as well as for Sheikh Ali Al-Jadhafsi, who was summoned again the day before.</p>

<p>The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) condemns the regime&#39;s systematic policy in the series of arrests and demands that religious rights and freedoms be provided for everyone alike, and that these rights and freedoms are not limited to one component of another, they are the right of all and must be available to all.</p>

<p>&nbsp;</p>

<p>Based on the above, BCHR calls on the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Nations and all other relevant international institutions and human rights organizations to put pressure the government of Bahrain to:</p>

<ul>
<li>Disclosing the fate of the detainees and release them immediately;</li>
<li>Join the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance;</li>
<li>Put an immediate end to the practice of enforced disappearance as a way to punish opponents and activists.</li>
</ul>

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Bahrain: the death of two persons within days due to illness they suffered while in prison

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<p>Monday 03 February 2020, Sayed Kadhem Abbas Hashem, aged 23, died as a result of suffering from the illness he had sustained while he was detained by the security authorities since 2015 on charges of illegal gathering and riots.</p>

<p>Sayed Kadhem developed a cancerous brain tumor while he was in prison, which led to the deterioration of his health, and his family reports that he did not have any health problems before his detention, but he started complaining of pain in his head continuously. His family asserts that whenever he complained to the prison administration about what he was suffering from and demanded to be taken to the hospital, he didn&rsquo;t receive any response and was told: &quot;You suffer from nothing&quot;. His family says that they have repeatedly appealed to the prison administration to provide the necessary and adequate health care to their son and transfer him to the hospital, but to no avail.</p>

<p>Sayed Kadhem suffered from the deliberate delay in providing medical care by officials at the Jaw Central Prison, a prison where convicts are serving their sentences in Bahrain, and he was suffering from severe pain in the stomach, back, and nose. Only when these pains increased abnormally, the prison administration took him to the hospital, where he was told that he had a cancerous brain tumor.</p>

<p>&nbsp;In 2018, he was operated and subsequently lost his sight, and in July 2018, he was released after his health deteriorated until he died, on Monday 03 February 2020.</p>

<p>In 2015, Sayed Kadhem was arrested from Bahrain International Airport, after which he was severely tortured and sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment for riots and illegal gathering before the sentence was reduced to 5 years; he served 3 years of the sentence before being released due to his health situation.</p>

<p>One of the persons who shared the same prison as Sayed Khadem reported to the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) that: &quot;Sayed Kadhem was always suffering from back pain and severe headache and he kept asking the prison officials to take him to the hospital for many continued hours, but to no avail. When his condition worsened, Sayed Kadhem began to vomit loudly, and prison officials came to him not to take him to the hospital, but to make fun of him, saying: &ldquo;What an actor you are!&rdquo; and they laughed at him&rdquo;.</p>

<p>The witness reports that many times, Sayed Kadhem was waking up from his sleep in the middle of the night due to the severity of the pain he was suffering from, and his brother who is convicted in the same cell asked the officials to take him to the hospital, then the officials came and took him out of the cell and forced him to walk when he could not even move from the pain. The officials used to take Sayed Kadhem out of the cell not to take him to the hospital but to leave him in one of the prison corridors to suffer and sleep on the ground until the morning when he was brought back to his cell. When officials brought him back, they told his brother: &quot;Your brother has improved his condition so tell him to stop lying and acting again, or we will transfer him to the solitary confinement.&quot;</p>

<p>Sayed Kadhem is the second victim of the negligence of the authorities in providing the necessary health care to prisoners. Last Friday, 31 January 2020, Hamid Khatem died, after suffering from stomach cancer after his arrest and neglect of his health condition by the prison administration. He was released in 2017 and traveled directly to India for treatment where he passed away.</p>

<p>In 2016, Hamid Khatem was arrested on charges of insulting the King of Bahrain via tweets he posted on Twitter, and in the same year, he was sentenced to two years in prison in the same case before the sentence was reduced to one year.</p>

<p>BCHR considers that what Hamid Khatem and Sayed Kadhem Hashem were exposed to reflect the situation and the real environment in which prisoners live in prisons and detention centers, where dozens of prisoners in Bahrain suffer from delay and neglect in obtaining medical care by the prison administration. Many of them resort to go on hunger strikes to demand basic rights such as the right to medical treatment, which usually results in the prison administration punishing them by preventing them from family calls and visits or by transferring them to solitary confinements.</p>

<p>There is no doubt that obtaining medical care inside the prison is a basic right that the prisoner must obtain without effort, and in accordance with internationally guaranteed and legitimate rights. BCHR considers that the failure of prisoners to obtain the appropriate medical care and treatment is a clear violation of the United Nations&rsquo; Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners while the documentation of two deaths due to failure to receive timely treatment is a contempt for these rights and those involved in this must be held accountable.</p>

<p>Accordingly, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights calls on the &nbsp;Bahraini authorities to:</p>

<ul>
<li>Initiate an immediate investigation into the death of Sayed Kadhem Hashem and Hamid Khatem</li>
<li>Investigate the causes of cancer occurrences in the prison</li>
<li>Stop all measures taken by prison officials that lead to the neglect of prisoners&#39; access to the right to treatment and necessary medical care.</li>
</ul>

<p>&nbsp;</p>

<p>&nbsp;</p>

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The continued deterioration of the situation of prisoners and an invitation to improve prison conditions in Bahrain

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<p>The last week of January 2020 was alarming in regards to the ill-treatment and neglect of medical care provided to prisoners of conscience.</p>

<p>One week ago, the prisoner, Elias Al-Mulla, (sentenced to 15 years), was released after spending five years in prison while suffering from cancer, after a campaign calling for his release in order to receive medical care after years of neglect that led to the aggravation of his health situation.</p>

<p>On Friday 31 January 2020, the former prisoner Hamid Khatam passed away; Khatem was released in 2017, a year after his arrest, as a result of his illness, and to receive treatment abroad, but he recently suffered a setback and passed away.</p>

<p>The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) still emphasizes on the need to develop ways of dealing with prisoners in accordance with international norms and laws, as well as providing medical treatment for the patients among them and improving prison conditions in terms of providing adequate medical care and developing the general environment of health facilities. It was reported that there is lack of hot water in Sanitation in the winter and this is one of the causes of sicknesses, as well as the low level of hygiene in prisons and detention centers, due to the limitation of cleaning materials and even the prevention of prisoners from purchasing them.</p>

<p>BCHR considers that the conditions of prisons in Bahrain need to be fundamentally and comprehensively addressed, ensuring that prisoners receive all their legitimate rights, and to improve the general situation in places of detention and imprisonment. That is especially needed since mass issues have occurred such as collective poisoning or mass infections such as scabies, and some other skin diseases. The affected were transferred to isolated wards, which further intensified their health and psychological suffering.</p>

<p>There is also a continued complaint of neglect in providing medical treatment, and of the poor level of health care in the prison clinic, which is usually limited to the dispensing of painkillers, which leads to the continuation of diseases and even their aggravation. That is of course, along with the difficulty of obtaining a transfer of emergency cases quickly to central public hospitals including difficult and chronic ones such as sickle cell anemia and cancer, as in the cases of Al Mulla, Khatem, and others.</p>

<p>It is a matter of concern that the Bahraini authorities continue to market the idea that prisons in Bahrain adhere to the highest standards of prisons in the world, which is an incorrect claim that is not supported by facts, as evidenced by the persistence of complaints of preventing prisoners from receiving treatment even in difficult and advanced cases of illness. It was reported as well, that prisoners complain of the lack of medication for patients, as well as continued ill-treatment and solitary confinement . Last October, Human Rights Watch issued a report on seven sick detainees (including al-Mulla) subjected to health neglect, and demanded their release and the cessation of reprisals. Also, last November, four UN experts published a letter to the Bahraini authorities that included ten cases of political prisoners subject to medical neglect.</p>

<p>&nbsp;</p>

<p>The Bahrain Center for Human Rights considers that it has become urgent for the authorities in Bahrain to adhere to the following:</p>

<ul>
<li>Organizing a series of field trips to assess the prison situation, with the aim of developing appropriate plans to improve their conditions;</li>
<li>Developing treatment with prisoners in accordance with relevant international laws and regulations;</li>
<li>Providing adequate medical treatment for sick prisoners and improving prison conditions in terms of providing adequate health care and improving sanitary facilities and others.</li>
<li>The release of prisoners and detainees held on the background of their demands for democracy and human rights.</li>
</ul>

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BCHR urges again the immediate release of Nabeel Rajab, without conditions

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<p>The Bahrain Center for Human Rights calls on the Bahraini authorities to immediately and unconditionally release human rights defender Nabeel Rajab.</p>

<p>Today, February 4, 2020, Nabeel Rajab, who is prominent human rights defender and Deputy Secretary-General of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), is entering his fourth year in detention, after he was sentenced to several years in prison for his activities, defence, peaceful commitment, and calls to respect human rights.</p>

<p>Nabeel Rajab is one of the most prominent human rights defenders around the world and is the President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), the founding director of the Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR), the Deputy Secretary-General of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and a member of the Human Rights Watch Advisory Committee in the Middle East and North Africa.</p>

<p>BCHR recalls that Rajab has been detained since his arrest on 13 June 2016 until this moment and has been placed in solitary confinement most of the time during the first nine months after his arrest, in violation of United Nations laws regarding pre-trial imprisonment, and that Rajab was subjected to ill-treatment. His books, clothes and personal belongings were confiscated and his cell was repeatedly raided at night.</p>

<p>On December 31, 2018, the Court of Cassation upheld a five-year prison sentence on Rajab, on the background of his tweet on his Twitter account claiming torture in prisons and criticizing Bahrain&#39;s participation in the Saudi-led military campaign against Yemen.</p>

<p>Rajab, who has already spent two years on other charges related to peaceful expression, is slated to remain behind bars until 2023. It appears that he has at times been subjected to negligence in medical treatment that may amount to arbitrary punishment, causing his health to significantly deteriorate.</p>

<p>It is noteworthy that, in August 2018, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention called for the immediate release of Nabeel Rajab, saying that his detention was not only arbitrary, but also constituted discrimination based on political or other opinions, as well as on his status as a defender of human rights.</p>

<p>The case of Rajab is part of a much broader campaign. Since 2012, Bahrain&rsquo;s courts have sentenced at least 40 Internet users to more than 842 months in prison for expressing on the Internet, and Bahrain&rsquo;s Minister of the Interior, Lieutenant General Sheikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, recently announced another campaign against citizens who criticize the government on social media.</p>

<p>In light of all of the above, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights urges the Bahraini authorities to release Nabeel Rajab immediately and without any restriction or condition, to cancel the judgments against him, drop all charges against him, and to pledge an immediate, impartial, independent, and effective investigation of his allegations of mistreatment during periods of time of his imprisonment. BCHR also called on the results of this investigation to be made public and any suspects with criminal responsibility to be brought to justice within fair, transparent and impartial procedures.</p>

<p>&nbsp;</p>

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World Interfaith Harmony Week

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<p>The world celebrates the World Interfaith Harmony Week from February 1 to February 7 of each year, by a decision of the United Nations General Assembly affirming that mutual understanding and interfaith dialogue constitute two important dimensions of the global culture of peace and interfaith harmony, noting the urgent need for dialogue between different religions, to enhance mutual understanding, harmony and cooperation between people.</p>

<p>The UN General Assembly also encourages all countries to support this week to spread the message of harmony through churches, mosques, synagogues and other places of worship of the world, on a voluntary basis and in accordance with convictions, which makes this World Week a way to promote harmony among all people regardless of religion.</p>

<p>With the emergence of modern administrative and legal organization, the legislation came to reinforce and standardize what was already recognized within Bahraini society. As the Constitution of Bahrain stipulates in Article 22 that: &quot;freedom of conscience is absolute, and the state guarantees the inviolability of places of worship, and freedom to perform religious rites, processions and religious meetings in accordance with established customs in the country&quot;.</p>

<p>In terms of numbers, the number of mosques in Bahrain currently stands at about 1171, and the number of Maatams is about 620, while the licensed churches number to 18. It is noteworthy that the establishment of the National Evangelical Church came before more than 100 years, and is considered the oldest church in the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council. Bahrain also hosts one of the oldest Hindu temples that was established 200 years ago, in addition to four other sub-temples, and is currently building the largest Catholic church in the Arab world.</p>

<p>The main problem today with this issue is the management of endowments.</p>

<p>The Awqaf &nbsp;(endowments ) was established in Bahrain in 1927 and has been lacking administrative and financial independence since its foundation, and this is in contradiction with international laws granting sects, religions and boredom independence in managing their religious affairs without prejudice to their right to practice rituals and manage private religious affairs in accordance with their beliefs.</p>

<p>From January 13 to January 30, 2020, Bahrain witnessed successive events. Among these events was the summoning and arrest of a number of Shiite clerics due to religious sermons. Among these events were also the arrest of 19 people, including at least five children, from January 13 until January 26, 2020.</p>

<p>From January 13 until January 30, 2020, the security authorities summoned 5 religious clerics, who were Qasim Zainuddin, Abdul-Zahra al-Samahiji, Sheikh Ali Al-Jadhafsi, Sheikh Abdul Mohsen Al-Jamri and Sheikh Ali Rahma, and arrested 3; Abdul-Zahraa Al-Samahiji, Qasim Zainuddin, and Sheikh Abdul Mohsen Al-Jamri on charges of insulting the companions of the Prophet Muhammad</p>

<p>The Bahrain Center for Human Rights considers that the Bahraini authorities continue to impose their tight security grip and impose more stringent measures to restrict freedom of expression and immediately punish people who try to express their opinions peacefully or when they have an opinion contrary to the government&rsquo;s opinion.</p>

<p>On this occasion, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights recalls the urgent need to affirm interfaith harmony, believing that everything that prevails in the world does not change the principle that pluralism of religions is the essence of human culture</p>

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9 years since the popular movement in Bahrain, amid an increase in the violations

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<p>It is the ninth anniversary of the outbreak of the popular movement demanding democracy in Bahrain on February 14, 2011, when the people expressed their will to be liberated from discrimination and oppression and their insistence on achieving their right to freedom, democracy and dignity.</p>

<p>With the international community continuing to shamefully deal with human rights issues in Bahrain, especially the humane suffering of prisoners, the official authorities have not held those responsible for torture and other forms of ill-treatment despite the establishment of oversight mechanisms as recommended by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI).</p>

<p>In this regard, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights monitored the overall number of violations between the years 2011 and 2019, which can be summarized as follows:</p>

<ul>
<li>More than 14,000 cases of arbitrary detention, including more than 5,000 victims of torture and ill-treatment.</li>
<li>More than 1700 cases of arbitrary detention of children.</li>
<li>810 cases of revocation of citizenship of Bahraini citizens based on political and malicious reasons.</li>
<li>4997 injuries due to the suppression of peaceful gatherings, while the peaceful gathering is completely prohibited since 2014 due to the opposition&rsquo;s boycott of&nbsp; the parliamentary and municipal elections, in addition to the suppression of hundreds of peaceful assemblies since 2011.</li>
</ul>

<p>In addition, according to the report of the International Center for Criminal Policy Research, Bahrain was ranked first according to the percentage of prisoners in the Middle East compared to the population, with a prison population of 301 per 100,000 inhabitants, and death sentences amounted to 36 rulings.</p>

<p>The most important forms of deteriorating human rights conditions in Bahrain are highlighted in restricting freedom of expression, confiscation of freedom of assembly and association, and widespread impunity. The rate of violations that include arbitrary arrests, unfair trials, revocation of nationality, torture and ill-treatment is also increasing, along with illegal raids of homes and residential facilities and violations of freedom of movement, prosecutions of activists, the transmission of hate speeches, and extrajudicial killings. As well as the dissolution of opposition political associations and the escalation of repression against civil society, where the National Security Agency was employed to pursue human rights and political activists in the torture cellars to prevent them from carrying out their legitimate human rights activities through the use of multiple methods of torture and coercion, including: electrical shocks, sexual harassment and the threat of targeting relatives.</p>

<p>It is worth mentioning that the most prominent human rights defenders in Bahrain are in prison and face ill-treatment, including &nbsp;Nabeel Rajab, the president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, who spent two years in prison &nbsp;for &quot;spreading false news, statements and rumors about the internal situation of the Kingdom&quot; as alleged by the authorities. Then, he immediately returned to prison again to serve a 5-year sentence for his tweets in which he criticized torture at the &quot;Jaw Central Prison&quot; in Bahrain and the Saudi-led military operations in Yemen. The Court of Appeal in Manama endorsed the last conviction, as it accused Rajab of &quot;broadcasting false rumors in wartime&quot;, &quot;insulting regular bodies&quot; and &quot;insulting a foreign country (Saudi Arabia)&quot;, and Rajab is detained since June 2016 until today, despite suffering from a serious skin disease, despite repeated international calls for his release, the authorities have not paid any attention to this, and have continued to imprison him, and issued in 2018 another arbitrary ruling against him.</p>

<p>And based on the foregoing, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights calls on the Bahraini authorities to allow the United Nations Special Rapporteurs on human rights defenders, freedom of expression, and torture to visit Bahrain immediately to meet with civil society representatives, as well as interview detainees, assess the human rights situation in the country, and work to transfer their recommendations to solve this crisis.</p>

<p>In addition, we call on the government of Bahrain to fulfill its promises made during the United Nations&rsquo; Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in Bahrain to support international standards that protect the rights to freedom of expression and assembly, including taking immediate steps to:</p>

<ol>
<li>Revoke the convictions, which followed unfair trials, of protesters, human rights defenders and activists, including Abdul Hadi Al-Khawaja, Nabeel Rajab, Dr. Abdul Jalil Al-Singace, and Naji Fateel, and release them immediately without conditions.</li>
<li>Ensure the physical and psychological integrity of all human rights defenders in Bahrain in all circumstances, put an end to torture and ill-treatment in prisons, police stations or secret locations and bring the perpetrators to justice immediately.</li>
<li>Allow foreign NGOs, journalists and UN representatives to visit Bahrain freely.</li>
<li>Respect for the right to freedom of expression and opinion of all people in Bahrain, as guaranteed by Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Constitution of Bahrain.</li>
<li>End the harassment of journalists and allow everyone to do their job without fear of reprisal.</li>
</ol>

<p>&nbsp;</p>

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The release of prisoners of conscience is a step towards social justice

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<p>On 20 February of every year, the countries of the world celebrate the &quot;International Day for Social Justice&quot;, which was formally adopted by the United Nations in 2007, as a confirmation of the fact that social justice is a fundamental principle of peaceful coexistence that creates prosperity,&nbsp;development and the preservation of human dignity.</p>

<p>At a time when the world is witnessing a great state of poverty and conflict and the most prosperous societies witness the widening of inequalities, the Declaration focused on ensuring that everyone has a fair share of the fruits of globalization, which is provided through employment opportunities, social protection, social dialogue and the implementation of basic principles and rights.</p>

<p>Social justice is the outcome of a system of political, economic, and social choices aimed at eliminating the large economic differences between classes of society on the horizon of building that society in which justice prevails in all its aspects, rather than being confined to the justice of the law only.</p>

<p>The political, economic and social upheavals that Bahrain is witnessing today have significantly affected the security and stability of individuals and groups and ravaged the possibilities of coexistence. The situation has been exacerbated by the deterioration of the human rights situation from restricting freedom of expression of opinion, confiscation of freedom of assembly and association, and widespread impunity.&nbsp;That is alongside other&nbsp;violations such as arbitrary arrests, unfair trials, revocation of nationality, torture and ill-treatment, unlawful raids of homes and residential facilities, hate speeches, extrajudicial killings and others. This is in addition to discrimination in the rights of citizenship, jobs and administrative positions, scholarships, and marginalization against parts of the social components.</p>

<p>Besides many international resolutions and national laws of the countries of the world, social justice is still a distant dream for many people because of the political crises, economic&nbsp;agonies&nbsp;and wars that these&nbsp;countries suffer from, such as poverty,&nbsp;famines, denial of human rights and interstate wars between peoples that have&nbsp;put stability, equality and tolerance in peril.&nbsp;</p>

<p>The human being is in dire and permanent need for social justice, as it is an integral part of ensuring a decent life, and this will be achieved only through providing the real opportunities he deserves, and obtaining the privileges that make him a citizen of his country, and obtaining his fair share of its wealth, and guaranteeing his political rights from&nbsp;freedom of thought and expression, health care, education and shelter, and sincere participation in drafting the national decision.</p>

<p>On this occasion, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights calls on the government of Bahrain to pay more attention to achieving sustainable development, and it reaffirms its importance for the immediate release, compensation and rehabilitation of all prisoners of conscience, and for the need to provide justice to victims and hold perpetrators accountable, and to ensure the right of the people to achieve&nbsp;equality and social justice for all.</p>

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Amnesty International: 2019 is a challenging year

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<p>Amnesty International&#39;s annual report summarizes the human rights situation for 2019, calling it the &quot;Year of the Challenge&quot;. The organization criticized the governments&rsquo; &quot;suppression&quot; of peaceful demonstrations. This came during a press conference held in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, to present its report entitled: &quot;<a href="https://www.amnesty.org/download/Documents/MDE0113572020ENGLISH.PDF">Review of the human rights situation in the Middle East and North Africa: for the year 2019</a>&quot;.</p>

<p>The report presented the human rights situation in 19 countries, highlighting many of the rights of peaceful protesters, women, refugees, foreign workers and others that were violated by governments. The organization&#39;s report explains that governments chose not to listen to the voices of protesters protesting various grievances, and instead resorted to brutal repression to silence peaceful critics, whether in the streets or on the Internet.</p>

<p>For her part, AMNESTY&rsquo;s director of the Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa, Heba Morayef, said that despite the bloody events that followed the 2011 uprisings in several countries, and the catastrophic deterioration of human rights in them, people had renewed their confidence in the ability of collective action for change. She added that the protests turned into long-standing waves of opposition, which represented a challenge to entire political systems.</p>

<p>Altogether, Morayef indicated that at least 136 people were imprisoned in 12 countries because of their online comments, including Bahrain.</p>

<p>In response, the organization called on the governments of the region to listen to the voices demanding social and economic justice and economic rights, and work to achieve these demands, instead of issuing orders to commit violations and serious crimes in order to remain in power.</p>

<p>The organization also called on the authorities to release all prisoners of conscience, to stop harassing peaceful critics and human rights activists, and to follow the recommendation of the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression regarding stopping the sale and transfer of surveillance equipment, pending the development of a human rights-sensitive regulatory framework.</p>

<p>With regard to Bahrain in particular, the report stated that the authorities have stepped up their efforts to clamp down on freedom of expression, targeting in particular forums on the Internet, which are the last remaining means through which Bahrainis can criticize the government. Unfair mass trials continued to be used, both for people facing terrorism-related charges and for protesters. People were still stripped of their nationality, although hundreds of people who had previously converted to stateless persons had regained their Bahraini citizenship. Executions resumed, after being suspended since January 2017, and prison conditions remained poor and often represented a form of degrading and inhuman treatment. The Bahraini authorities continued not to allow independent human rights monitors to enter the country.</p>

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Violations rise on the ninth anniversary of the launch of pro-democracy protests on February 14

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<p>Last Friday, February 14, 2020, marks the ninth anniversary of the start of the protests calling for democracy and human rights in Bahrain in 2011, the center of which was the Pearl Roundabout in the capital of Bahrain, Manama, before the Bahraini authorities suppressed it.</p>

<p>On Friday, <a href="http://bahrainrights.org/en/node/9241">February 14</a>, 2020, a number of cities and towns in Bahrain witnessed protests to commemorate this anniversary, and various areas in Bahrain witnessed a proliferation of police forces in an attempt to prevent the emergence of any kind of protests, but the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) was able to monitor many violations that coincided with this anniversary.</p>

<p><img src="/sites/default/files/124.png" style="height:207px; width:331px" /></p>

<p>A photo of the police presence witnessed in Karrana town on February 14, 2020</p>

<p>&nbsp;</p>

<p>BCHR &nbsp;monitored from the 13th to the 15th of February, 26 protest marches in 18 regions, including the capital of Bahrain, Manama, where at least 3 of them were repressed by the police forces using tear gas canisters.</p>

<p><img src="/sites/default/files/125.png" style="height:165px; width:286px" /></p>

<p>A photo showing the spread of tear gas canisters shot by the police forces in Sitra</p>

<p>&nbsp;</p>

<p><img src="/sites/default/files/126.png" style="height:163px; width:290px" /></p>

<p>A picture of a citizen&#39;s car damaged by the tear gas canisters fired by the police forces in Sanabis town</p>

<p>&nbsp;</p>

<p>The Center also monitored in the same period 13 cases of detention, including 4 cases of detention of children under the age of 18, amongst them is the 10-year-old child Ameen Redha, who is held in custody by the Public Prosecution for a week on charges of illegal gathering, after his arrest on February 14, 2020 from the Al-Marakh town.</p>

<p><img src="/sites/default/files/127.png" style="height:169px; width:268px" /></p>

<p>Photo of the 10-year-old Ameen Redha, who was arrested by the police</p>

<p>The Center also monitored the summons of a number of persons and activists to prevent them from participating in the protests, and the father of the victim of extrajudicial killing, Hussein Al-Jaziri, who was killed by the police forces in 2013, was also summoned to prevent an event commemorating the killing of his son, which falls on February 13.</p>

<p>The official authorities in Bahrain work every year to prevent protests on the anniversary of February 14 in an attempt to stop any peaceful movements calling for democracy and human rights. Since 2014, the Bahrain government has banned all forms of peaceful protests and worked to legislate laws criminalizing participation in protests, and even punishing the hundreds of people participating in the peaceful protests taking place in various regions in Bahrain.</p>

<p>Since 2011, Bahrain has been experiencing a stifling political crisis in which the government of Bahrain eliminated all forms of political action by dissolving the two largest political parties, namely Al-Wefaq and Waad, and arrested its leaders. Sheikh Ali Salman, Secretary-General of Al-Wefaq, has been in prison since 2014. That is in addition to thousands of political detainees and prisoners of conscience, among them is the President of BCHR, Nabeel Rajab, who was arrested in 2016 and sentenced to 7 years imprisonment in cases related to freedom of expression.</p>

<p>You can now see our 2019 <a href="http://bahrainrights.org/en/node/9145">annual report</a> on the ongoing violations in Bahrain.</p>

<p>&nbsp;</p>

<p>On this occasion, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights would like to renew its call to the government of Bahrain to:</p>

<ul>
<li>Stop criminalizing participation in protests and punishing activists and participants in peaceful protests;</li>
<li>End the suppression of political freedoms, especially freedom of expression;</li>
<li>Release all those detained on the background of their demands for democracy and human rights, and the most prominent of them is the President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and Vice President of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Nabeel Rajab.</li>
</ul>

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Opening of the 43rd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council: "Human rights are violated"

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<p>The <a href="https://www.ohchr.org/en/hrbodies/hrc/pages/home.aspx">United Nations&rsquo; Human Rights Council</a> HRC in Geneva opened the work of the <a href="https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session43/Pages/43... regular session</a>, starting on Monday, February 24, 2020, with number of topics of concern to the human rights situation in about fifty countries.</p>

<p>During this session, which will continue until March 20, the HRC will hold more than 25 interactive discussions in this regard. We mention that the Kingdom of Bahrain is one of the countries that the council will address during the session.</p>

<p>The Council is scheduled to organize four thematic discussion sessions, the first of which was held in the form of a round table for the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child that was celebrated for the thirtieth anniversary of its adoption in 2019, while a high-level panel discussion yesterday focused on the Beijing Declaration and Plan of Action, which they grew out of the International Conference on Women in 1995.</p>

<p>In his speech at the opening of the annual session of the Human Rights Council, United Nations&rsquo; Secretary-General Ant&oacute;nio Guterres called for action against what he described as &quot;increasing human rights abuses around the world,&quot; highlighting the persecution of minorities and the murders of women. Guterres said in his speech: &quot;The rights of human beings are exposed to transgressions, and no country is immune to this trend&rdquo;, adding that &ldquo;fears are increasing&rdquo; and &ldquo;human rights are being violated from all sides&rdquo;, calling on the international community to &ldquo;move to reverse this path&rdquo;.</p>

<p>Guterres expressed his concern about &ldquo;the decline of women&#39;s rights and the alarming levels of women&rsquo;s murders, as well as about abuse women rights defenders and the continuation of laws and policies that perpetuate subordination and exclusion&quot;, pointing out that violence against women and girls is the greatest violation prevalent.</p>

<p>He also clarified that repressive laws proliferate with the emergence of increasing restrictions on freedoms of expression, belief, participation, assembly, and association, saying that: &quot;journalists, human rights defenders and activists, especially women, are exposed to increasing threats while their commitment is indispensable in the context of achieving justice&rdquo;.</p>

<p>The Secretary-General of the United Nations stated that the new technology provided a better organization for civil society, but at the same time it gave the authorities unprecedented means to control the movements of individuals to restrict their freedoms, adding that &quot;the climate crisis is the greatest threat to the survival of the human race and actually puts human rights at risk in all over the world&quot;.</p>

<p>&nbsp;On the occasion of the 43rd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights would like to take the opportunity to raise concerns about the failure of the Kingdom of Bahrain and its refusal to undertake reforms proposed by countries at the third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in 2017. On the contrary, the vast majority of the recommendations made by other countries have not been fulfilled, even as the government takes some steps in this regard.</p>

<p>After Bahrain underwent its third cycle of the UPR in May 2017, during the review, member states and observer states in the United Nations Human Rights Council made 175 recommendations, and these recommendations were compiled in 20 areas of issues, including the most important human rights from the right to freedom of expression to treatment of prisoners. Due to the depth and breadth of the recommendations, if implemented, they would have led to broad reforms in the political, judicial and penal systems in Bahrain, but while the government endorsed 139 recommendations and provided comments on only 36 recommendations, it refused to implement the recommendations, taking only few serious steps to changing their policies or laws.</p>

<p>Therefore, and based on the foregoing, and believing in the active role played by the Human Rights Council, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights calls for paying wider attention to the implementation of the recommendations, as it is not sufficient to instruct them without monitoring their implementation. BCHR renews the call to pressure the Bahraini authorities in order to solve the current issues, especially with regard to the prisoners and their conditions in the recent periods.</p>

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