Past Event: Critical Condition: Bahrain’s Ailing Healthcare System Two Years After the Uprising


Congressman Jim McDermott

in collaboration with

Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain and Physicians for Human Rights



 Critical Condition: Bahrain’s Ailing Healthcare System Two Years After the Uprising

Friday, April 12, 2013
10:30 a.m.
304 Cannon HOB
Open to Hill Staff and Interns with ID

In February 2011, thousands of Bahraini protesters took to the streets to call for political reforms, only to be met with a brutal crackdown by Bahrain’s security forces. Subsequently, more than 50 protesters were killed, thousands were injured, and at least 1,600 were detained. Doctors, nurses, and first responders who came to the aid of injured protesters witnessed firsthand the brutality inflicted by the government.

As a result of their efforts to provide care for the injured, medical professionals in Bahrain soon came under attack themselves: nearly 100 medics were arrested, dozens were criminally charged in connection with treating injured protesters, and many were subjected to ill-treatment and torture while detained. Many medics were also fired from their jobs, or otherwise demoted or transferred to positions where their expertise went unutilized. Medical facilities also came under attack as Bahrain’s security forces occupied the country’s only public hospital and used the site as an interrogation center, deterring patients from seeking needed treatment.

Attacks on healthcare in Bahrain has resulted in a significant deterioration in the quality of Bahrain’s healthcare system in the past two years: doctors have been forced out of their profession or are not permitted to practice their specialties, resulting in a shortage of physicians; patients are afraid to seek medical treatment for fear of being interrogated or arrested; and segments of Bahrain’s population continue to face threats to their health as a result of the continued excessive use of tear gas on civilians. This briefing will examine the reasons for the deterioration of Bahrain’s healthcare system and changes that must be made to reverse this worrisome trend.


  • Husain Abdulla, Director, Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain


  • Richard Sollom, Director of Emergencies and Special Initiatives, Physicians for Human Rights
  • Dr. Mustafa al-Alawi, Co-founder, Gulf Center for Human Rights
  • Rula al-Saffar, Head of Emergency Nursing Program, Bahrain College of Health Sciences
  • Jehan Matook, Medical Coordinator, Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights

To RSVP, please fill out the following form:

[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]

For more information, please email info [at] adhrb [dot] org.

Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain is a U.S.-based non-profit organization that fosters awareness of and support for democracy and human rights in Bahrain.

 Physicians for Human Rights is an independent organization that uses medicine and science to stop mass atrocities and severe human rights violations against individuals.