On Thursday 28 June, at the 38th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, ADHRB delivered an oral intervention during the Item 5 General Debate. The intervention called attention to Bahrain’s continued reprisals against human rights defenders and their families in retaliation for their participation in the Human Rights Council. The intervention specifically highlighted the plight of human rights defender Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei’s family, who were targeted because of Sayed’s engagement with the Council and other UN bodies. Click here to read a PDF of the intervention or continue below for the text of the remarks.

Mr. President,

ADHRB wish to bring to the Council’s attention the continued reprisals by Bahraini officials against various human rights defenders and their families.

Throughout 2018, a number of individuals reported reprisals and threats against them relating to their participation in the Human Rights Council, including threats of physical violence, threats of public defamation, and threats of rape. Furthermore, Bahrain has continued to implement travel bans affecting a wide range of civil society actors.

The case of human rights defender Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei also illustrates the continuation of reprisals in Bahrain. Mr. Alwadaei’s mother-in-law, brother-in-law and cousin were detained as reprisal against Sayed’s continued advocacy and participation at the HRC. Alwadaei’s relatives faced ill-treatment and torture, including forced standing and beatings. Following her interrogation, Alwadaei’s mother-in-law was rushed to the hospital after losing consciousness. Sayed Ahmed’s family members have all been charged with allegedly planting a faked bomb, based on coerced confessions. Alwadaei’s wife has also been similarly targeted with abuse while detained at the airport police station, and was later tried in absentia. His story is one of countless instances of reprisals in Bahrain.

Considering the long history of these deeply concerning reprisals against human rights defenders relating to their ongoing engagement at the UN, we urge the Council to publicly denounce the Government of Bahrain’s continued practice of reprisals.

Thank you.