Dear Pen Pal: Letters from Bahrain’s Child Prisoners

Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB), the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), and the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) have organized a traveling and interactive exhibit to raise awareness about human rights violations in Bahrain. This exhibit is focused on society’s most vulnerable members: children and adolescents.

In 2011, nearly half of the population of Bahrain began to protest structural inequalities, corruption, oppression, and a lack of government representation. In response, the Bahraini government dispatched security forces to quell protests, leading to thousands of arrests, hundreds of injuries, and dozens of deaths. Since 2011, the government has taken numerous measures to suppress any popular movement. However, protests continue to occur almost every day in the Kingdom. In an attempt to stamp out any form of dissent, Bahraini authorities have transformed preteen and teenage citizens into enemies of the state and subjected them to abuse at all levels of the legal system. Some of the children presented in this exhibit actively participated in pro-democracy protests, while authorities detained others at random.

We intend this exhibit to raise awareness about the ongoing human rights violations against children. With your participation, we intend to send letters to the families of these young boys to let them know the world has not forgotten about them. In addition, we ask you to sign a petition to the King of Bahrain asking him to free the incarcerated children in the country. The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness of child incarceration and torture in Bahrain.

Please sign our petition calling on King Hamad to release all child political prisoners and to end the systematic use of abduction, arbitrary detention, and torture on Bahrain juveniles.

If you are interested in hosting this exhibit at your school, university, or organization, please contact ADHRB at