On 23 June, Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain’s Advocacy Associate, Michael Payne, delivered an oral intervention (1:08:00) at the 26th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva under Item 4 on the human rights situation in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, which requires the Council’s attention. Please continue reading for full remarks or click here to download a PDF.
الرجاء الضغط هنا لقراءة هذه الرسالة باللغة العربي
Alsalam Foundation, together with Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain and the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, would like to call attention to the human rights situations in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. We would specifically like to highlight the cases of arbitrary detention, torture, and extrajudicial killing of human rights defenders, journalists, and peaceful protesters in these two countries.
Following widespread peaceful protests in Bahrain in February 2011, the government of Bahrain initiated a violent crackdown on human rights in the country. As part of this crackdown, the government arrested a group of activists that have come to be known as the Bahrain 13, including Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, Abduljalil Singace, Hasan Mushaima, Abdulwahab Hussain, and Ibrahim Sharif. Despite numerous recommendations in either Bahrain’s second-cycle UPR, or the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry calling for their release, the Government of Bahrain continues with the detention of these human rights defenders and activists. However, the government has not stopped with the detention of human rights defenders; it has also targeted journalists, including Husain Hubail, and religious leaders, including Sheikh Husain Najati.
Across the causeway, the government of Saudi Arabia has initiated its own campaign against human rights. This month, Saudi courts sentenced Reda al-Rubh and Ali al-Nimr to death for crimes relating to acts of terrorism. However, the government has yet to release any information relevant to their sentences, and is believed to have relied on false confessions coerced by means of torture in securing their convictions. Their executions are scheduled to take place later this month.
On the occasion of the 26th Session of the Human Rights Council, we call on the governments of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia to honor both their commitments to the international community and the international jus cogens norms against arbitrary detention, torture, and extrajudicial killing, and to release all political prisoners within their borders. We additionally call upon these governments to comprehensively engage with OHCHR to further curtail human rights abuses in the future.