Bahrain Bi-Weekly: Issue 8

Featured Followers

ADHRB features relevant, timely Tweets by its Twitter followers in each newsletter.


ADHRB Asks UNESCO to Change Name and Funding Source of King Hamad Prize

2011 Winners of the UNESCO-King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize with Ms. Irinia Bokova.
Credit: UNESCO


On May 8, Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) sent a letter to Ms. Irina Bokova, Director General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), expressing concern regarding UNESCO’s acceptance of funds from the king of Bahrain in support of the UNESCO-King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize for the Use of Information and Communication Technologies in Education.

The purpose of this prize is to “reward projects and activities of individuals, institutions, other entities or non-governmental organizations for excellent models, best practice, and creative use of ICTs [information and communications technology] to enhance learning, teaching and overall educational performance.” Despite the noble aims of this prize, the actions of the award’s namesake fail to demonstrate respect for the enhancement of learning and teaching in Bahrain.

The kingdom of Bahrain has endured significant ongoing human rights violations since the outbreak of protests there in 2011. More than 100 people are estimated to have been killed—nearly all of them civilians—in the more than two years since the protests began. In addition, thousands of people have been injured in attacks by Bahraini security forces since then.

Unfortunately, teachers and students have also been the subject of persecution by the Bahrain government since 2011. Top leaders of the Bahrain Teachers’ Association were arrested, abused and tortured in detention, and sentenced to jail for participating in peaceful protests, while the Ministry of Education punished teachers who dared to peacefully exercise their rights by reducing their salaries, suspending them, or firing from their jobs. Students who joined protests were interrogated, arrested, detained, and torturedsuspended or expelled from school; and threatened with revocation of their student scholarships by the Ministry of Education. They were also forced to sign “loyalty pledges” proclaiming allegiance to the regime and promising not to participate in any future protests—in short, a pledge to renounce their rights to free expression and association.

All of these abuses were done with the full knowledge and acquiescence of King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa, the individual whose namesake has been given to support a prize in education. Such actions also contradict UNESCO’s mission to promote educational leadership and opportunities for all populations. ADHRB urged UNESCO to reconsider the prudence in associating that highly-respected body with such condemnable human rights violations. Specifically, ADHRB asked UNESCO to reconsider its source of funding for this prize and to rename the prize to more accurately reflect the aims of the prize and UNESCO’s mission in support of education.

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, May 14 | 11:30am-2pm
Karen Elliot House Presents “On Saudi Arabia” (RSVP)
Women’s National Democratic Club
1526 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC
(Event not free)Wednesday, May 15 | 12-1:30pm
The Rise of Islamism: Its Impact on Religious Minorities (RSVP)
The Hudson Institute
1015 15th Street NW, 6th Floor, Washington, DC
(Lunch provided)

Tuesday, May 21 | 10am-12pm
Bahrain: A Conversation About Its Challenges and Opportunities (RSVP)
Rayburn House Office Building, Room B-308
45 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC
Capitol Hill
(Light refreshments provided)

Bahrain News

US Government on Bahrain
 Secretary of State John Kerry Discusses Reforms with Bahrain’s Foreign Minister
 USCIRF’s 2013 Annual Report on International Religious Freedom Identifies World’s Worst Violators
 United States Seeks to Protect Worker Rights Under US-Bahrain Trade Agreement
 Statements from Members of Congress on Labor Department’s Request for Bahrain Consultations





2013 World Press Freedom Day