Today, Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) delivered an oral intervention at the 42nd Session of the Human Rights Council during the interactive dialogue with the Assistant Secretary General Gilmour concerning the continuous reprisals faced by many human rights defenders in Bahrain, specifically for collaborating with the UN. ADHRB raised, in particular, concerns on the cases of the activist Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei and many others who faced reprisals.
We welcome the Secretary General’s report, and would like to bring to Assistant Secretary General Gilmour’s attention the persistent and deliberate pattern of reprisals against Bahraini human rights defenders who cooperate with the UN.
We condemn in particular the reprisals against London-based Bahraini activist Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, whose family members, including his mother-in-law Hajer Mansoor, have been arbitrarily imprisoned since March 2017. The Secretary General’s report notes the defamatory statements issued by Bahrain’s Ministry of Interior against Mr. Alwadaei and his family in January 2019, soon after the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention called for their release. The report expresses further concern about the physical assault Ms. Mansoor suffered last year after her case was mention at the 39th session of the HRC and in last year’s report.
Last week, Ms. Mansoor was subjected to denial of her religious rights, arbitrary searches, “bullying” and threatening behavior by the prison authorities, possibly as a result of her mention in this year’s SG report and during a side event.
This is the third time Ms. Mansoor has been mentioned in the Secretary General’s report since she was arrested in 2017, and her treatment has only worsened. Bahraini cases like Ms. Mansoor’s have been reported many times, yet there is no indication of any change in Bahrain’s attitude.
What measures will the Council take to protect those who engage with the UN from reprisals? And what assurances can the Council give to Mr. Alwadaei and other activists that these continued reprisals will have consequences on Bahrain’s membership at the HRC? Ultimately, a country that continues to engage in reprisals against those who cooperate with the UN should not be a member of this Council.