Last year, Bahrain’s Ministry of Interior revoked the citizenship of 31 Bahrainis, all of whom were involved in the promotion of political and human rights reform in the country. In the year since, Bahrain has witnessed an increase in repressive actions by authorities against human rights advocates, opposition figures, and pro-democracy activists. Just this month, the Bahrain government raided the headquarters of opposition party Al-Wefaq, denied a human rights lawyer who wanted to observe the trial of human rights defender Naji Fateel entry to the country, and targeted Shia citizens for publically commemorating the religious holiday of Ashura. 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
“The serious and ongoing abuse of citizens’ rights in Bahrain is of grave concern due to the continued deprivation of citizenship and threats to the welfare of regime critics,” said ADHRB Executive Director Husain Abdulla, who had his citizenship revoked last year. “With an increase in sectarian fueled attacks by the Government, the ongoing harassment of the legitimate political opposition, and the continued abuse of detainees, an honest dialogue that is so necessary for the future of Bahrain is increasingly unlikely to occur.”
In light of continued 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 their 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’.
Meanwhile, United States Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced that he plans to attend the Manama Dialogue scheduled for December in Bahrain.
“Although the internationally community has taken steps to highlight systematic human rights abuses in Bahrain, more public and consistent condemnation is needed to compel the Bahrain Government to stop,” Mr. Abdulla said. “The status quo response from the international community has proven to be insufficient in the face of the Government’s insistence to commit such abuses. With that in mind, we strongly encourage Secretary Hagel to honestly and openly apply pressure to the Bahrain government to swiftly enact meaningful reform that would bring an end to the political turmoil and instability in the country, without which we fear the situation could further destabilize.”