Italian MP Laura Boldrini sent a Letter to the rector of la Sapienza University of Rome, a well-known and highly respected Italian University, calling for a suspension of the collaboration between the educational institution and the Bahraini authorities under the “King Hamad Chair in Interfaith Dialogue and Peaceful co-existence”. This chair was established in November 2018 and entails direct funding to La Sapienza from the Bahraini government.
The letter details the different measures already taken by MP Laura Boldrini, the Chairwoman of the Standing Committee on Human Rights, a sub-committee of the Foreign Affairs Commission in the Italian Chamber of Deputies. It notably mentions the hearing held on June 14 to which ADHRB participated, the letter addressed to the King on May 13 concerning the death penalty and the condition detentions of prisoners of conscience and human rights defenders and the European Parliament Resolution of 11 March 2011 on the human rights situation in Bahrain. All those initiatives confirm the ongoing, widespread and systematic violations of human rights in the Kingdom of Bahrain including arbitrary detentions, unfair trials, torture and discrimination against the Shia majority.
MP Laura Boldrini therefore highlights the immense discrepancy between the state of human rights in Bahrain and the declared values of democracy, equality and respect for fundamental rights of the University of La Sapienza. She further denounces the continuous use by the Bahraini authorities of the King Hamad Chair as evidence of the Kingdom’s commitment to freedom of religion, tolerance and interfaith dialogue in international fora. In this light, she calls on the Rector to put an end to this collaboration as it only serves whitewashing purposes and degrades the integrity of the institution.
Laura Boldrini is a Member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies since 2013, she was the president of the Chamber from 2013-2018 and is a former UN official. It is worth mentioning that she graduated in law from La Sapienza University of Rome.