HRC35 Item 4 Oral Intervention: Rights Violations in Duraz and Awamiyah

On 16 June 2017, ADHRB’s Advocacy Associate delivered an oral intervention during the Item 4 debate of the 35th session of the Human Rights Council. In his intervention, Pry raised a number of human rights violations in both Duraz, Bahrain and Awamiyah, Saudi Arabia, in particular the denial of the right to free assembly and association and the right to free expression and opinion. Please continue reading for the full text of his intervention, or click here for a PDF of his remarks.

Mr. President,

Alsalam and ADHRB would like to call attention to violations of the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly and association in Duraz, Bahrain and Awamiyah, Saudi Arabia.

Awamiyah is a Shia-majority town in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province that has long been a center for anti-government protests. On May 10th, Saudi security forces accompanied by demolition vehicles entered the city and began razing the 400-year-old Mosawara neighborhood. This initiated an ongoing military operation that has resulted in hundreds of forced evictions and the death of at least five civilians. The government operation appears to target dissidents, activists, and the local Shia community.

Across the causeway in Bahrain, since June 2016, hundreds of peaceful protesters have gathered in the village of Duraz to protest the government’s arbitrary denaturalization of Sheikh Isa Qassim, Bahrain’s most prominent Shia religious leader, who has also been convicted of unsubstantiated money-laundering charges. On 23 May, Bahraini authorities violently raided the peaceful assembly in Duraz using live ammunition and indiscriminate fire that killed five civilians, including environmental activist Mohamed Khadim Muhsin Zain Aldeen, while 287 were arrested.

Bahrain and Saudi Arabia’s raids are an effort to deny citizens their rights to free expression and peaceful assembly and association. We call on the Council to condemn Saudi Arabia and Bahrain’s suppression of these basic human rights.

Thank you.