Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) participated in the 48th session of the Human Rights Council, which commenced virtually on September 13, 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. During this session, ADHRB delivered nine online oral interventions regarding human rights violations in Bahrain and Yemen. Moreover, in cooperation with the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, ADHRB organized a webinar to demand the unconditional release of all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience from Bahraini prisons.
Amongst ADHRB’s nine interventions, seven addressed the human rights situation in Bahrain, condemning violations against human rights defenders and opposition leaders such as Dr. Abduljalil Al-Singace, Sheikh Zuhair Ashour, and Ali AlWazir, and Hassan Mushaima, and further demanded that pressure be exerted on Bahrain to unconditionally release all political prisoners. During its interventions on Bahrain, ADHRB also called on the Human Rights Council to take serious measures to facilitate access for Special Rapporteurs to visit Bahrain, in order for them to document the presence of systematic human rights violations. ADHRB also condemned the prevailing culture of impunity in Bahrain; illustrated by the authorities’ failure to hold officials such as Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the King’s son, and members of the Ministry of Interior, accountable for their human rights violations.
In its interventions, ADHRB also raised the issue of systematic religious discrimination against the Shia population by Bahraini authorities, including the violations committed against Shia during the Ashura celebrations. In this context, ADHRB demanded that the Bahraini government cease their support for sectarian hate speech, and called upon the Council to appoint a Special Rapporteur for Bahrain to monitor and submit reports regarding the violations committed by the AlKhalifa regime. ADHRB’s interventions also tackled the issue of human rights violations in Yemen; urging the Yemeni government to cooperate with the United Nations in investigating crimes committed, demanding the opening of all airports and ports in the country, and calling for an end to this incessant war.
On the sidelines of the 48th session, and in cooperation with the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Bahrain Centre for Human Rights; ADHRB participated in an online joint event entitled “Bahrain must immediately release all human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience.” The symposium saw the attendance of various speakers; namely, Marie Lawlor, Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders, Husain Abdulla, Executive Director of ADHRB, Hiba Zayadin, Researcher on Gulf Affairs at Human Rights Watch, and Sima Walting, Researcher at Amnesty International. While highlighting the violations that political prisoners and prisoners of conscience continue to suffer, the speakers called for their unconditional release, especially for Hassan Mushaima and Dr. Abduljalil Al-Singace, and without the imposition of any restrictions under the alternative sentencing framework.
Through its effective participation in the 48th session of the Human Rights Council, ADHRB managed to address the most severe human rights violations in the Gulf States, and called upon their governments to uphold the fundamental principles of human rights.