HRC36 Bahrain Intervention: Item 9 and Systematic Discrimination Against Shia in Bahrain

On 26 September, at the 36th session of the Human Rights Council, Husain Jawad Parweez delivered an oral intervention on behalf of ADHRB under the Item 9 General Debate. In his intervention, Parweez addressed concerns over Bahrain’s failure to respect its obligations under the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, which calls on states to protect individuals from discrimination. Parweez highlighted Bahrain’s systematic discrimination and persecution of its Shia majority population, including in civil services, security and defense sectors, and the targeting of Shia religious, social, and political figures. Please continue reading for the full text of his intervention, or click here for a PDF of his intervention.

Mr. President,

Alsalam and ADHRB would like to raise our concern regarding the continued disregard of states for the Durban Declaration and Program of Action’s call to protect individuals from discrimination.

For example, in Bahrain, the government continues to discriminate against its Shia majority population. The government perpetuates systematic economic discrimination, including through sectarian hiring practices in both the public and private sector. The greatest example of this practice is in Bahrain’s security and defense forces. Bahraini Shia also face discrimination in education and the distribution of government services.

Beyond economic discrimination, the Bahraini government also actively target Shia clerics and Shia civil and political societies. Last year, the government dissolved al-Wefaq National Islamic Society—the largest political society in the kingdom—as well as a number of Shia charities.

Bahrain also targets Shia clerics with arbitrary arrest, prosecution, and denaturalization. After revoking the citizenship of Sheikh Isa Qassim, Bahrain’s most senior Shia cleric, authorities brought charges against him relating to traditional Shia practices. Bahrain has also forcibly deported Shia clerics and their families. This persecution shows no sign of abating.

The Durban Declaration and Program of Action directs states to address and counter discrimination and intolerance. We call on all states, including Bahrain, to uphold their responsibilities under the Durban Declaration to ensure the protection and non-discrimination of religious, racial and ethnic communities, and to hold ensure all violators are held accountable for their misconducts.

Thank you.


Photo by Moosa Mohammed