WASHINGTON, DC – November 7, 2013 – On this date last year, Bahrain’s Ministry of Interior revoked the citizenship of 31 Bahrainis, who were all involved in the promotion of rights reform in the country. In the year since, Bahrain has witnessed an increase in repressive actions taken by authorities against human rights advocates, opposition figures, and pro-democracy activists. Just this month, Bahrain security forces raided the headquarters of opposition party Al-Wefaq for hosting a museum that focused on the Bahrain uprising, which was deemed ‘insulting’ to the Ministry of Interior. Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) condemns the continued escalation of repression and human rights violations in Bahrain and expresses deep concern for the future of reconciliation in the country
“We at ADHRB are gravely concerned with the deteriorating situation in Bahrain, where government disrespect for citizens’ rights, deprivation of citizenship, and threats to the welfare of regime critics characterize the authoritarian responses to legitimate dissent,” said ADHRB Executive Director Husain Abdulla, who also had his citizenship revoked last year. “Honest dialogue and reconciliation, the only way forward for Bahrain, will require the authorities to treat dissenters as valid contributors to Bahrain’s future, not as enemies.”
In light of the continued culture of impunity in Bahrain, members of the international community have voiced their concern over the escalating conflict and serious infractions conducted by the Government of Bahrain. On the anniversary of the revocation of citizenship, Lord Avebury of the United Kingdom House of Lords introduced a petition to restore citizenship for the 31 Bahrainis who lost it due to criticism of the Government.
At the United Nations Third Committee, the delegate for the European Union delivered a statement expressing concern over the situation in Bahrain and called for the Bahrain government to respect all human rights. Additionally, Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association Maina Kai specifically mentioned Bahrain in the 32nd meeting of the UN Third Committee, describing the criminalization of peaceful protest with charges of participating in illegal gatherings as ‘deplorable’.
“The intensified persecution of critical voices in Bahrain, which has led to the detention of top party officials and dozens of political prisoners, deaths of peaceful protesters and rendered community leaders stateless, has not gone unnoticed in the international community,” Mr. Abdulla said. “It is important for political pressure applied on the Government of Bahrain by the international community to increase. Presented with the dramatic shows of persecution, America cannot ignore the moral weight and duties of its alliances in the Gulf.”