HRC38 Oral Intervention: Item 3 GD: Denial of Healthcare to Prisoners in Bahrain

On Monday 25 June, at the 38th session of the Human Rights Council, Bridget Quitter delivered an oral intervention during the Item 3 General Debate calling attention to the Bahraini government’s denial of healthcare to prisoners in Isa Town Women’s Prison and the notorious Jau Prison. Bahraini authorities have targeted in particular, high profile political prisoners like Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, Abduljalil al-Singace, and Fawzeya Mashalla among many others. For a PDF of her intervention, click here.

Mr. President,

IDO and ADHRB welcomes the report of the SR Health on individuals in detention, and wishes to highlight its relevance in Bahrain, where authorities in detention centers and prisons continue to deny detainees proper healthcare, in particular in Jau Prison and Isa Town Women’s Prison.

Jau Prison is overcrowded, unsanitary, and violent – prisoners report physical beatings perpetrated by guards and the use of solitary confinement as punishment. Further, many prisoners have reported denial of access to necessary medical care and medication.

The prison has specifically targeted high-profile inmates for abuse by denying them healthcare. Human Rights Defenders and political leaders Hasan Mushaima, AbdulWahab Husain, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, Nabeel Rajab, and Dr. Abduljalil al-Singace have all been denied necessary medical care in Jau.

Furthermore, Isa Town Women’s Prison is the only female detention center in Bahrain, and where detainees have also reported denial of healthcare. One detainee, Fawzeya Mashalla, suffers from significant cardiovascular and digestive problems, but continues to be denied adequate healthcare. The authorities threatened Fawzeya and forced her to sign a statement refusing further treatment. Hajar Mansoor Hassan, who was targeted for the human rights work of her son-in-law Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei at this Council, has also reported ill treatment in the Isa Town prison. She and other female detainees held a hunger strike this March to protest their denial of care, which resulted in her hospitalization.

The authorities at both prisons fail to meet the standards for healthcare in detention, and those individuals under their care continue to suffer as a result. Therefore, we call on Bahrain to implement the recommendations of the report fully without delay.

Thank you.