ADHRB urges the Council to pressure Bahrain to end its sectarian discrimination against political prisoners

On 28 March, ADHRB has delivered an oral intervention at the United Nation Human Rights Council session 49 under item 9, during the General debate. ADHRB urges the Council to pressure Bahrain to end its sectarian discrimination against political prisoners.

Mr. President,

IDO would like to raise concern over Bahrain’s continued violation of the Durban Declaration and its Programme of Action, which highlighted intolerance against religious communities and the subsequent discrimination they may face. Bahrain’s discrimination against its Shia population reveals itself in the mistreatment faced by its Shia detainees and prisoners.

In detention, interrogation officers have called Shia detainees sectarian slurs, in addition to insulting their revered religious figures. An individual who was arrested in November 2021 had been accused of terrorism on the grounds of traveling to Iraq for training, even though he had traveled for Karbala pilgrimage. Furthermore, while detained, he reported facing sectarian discrimination and being told, “let Iran help you” while being subjected to severe physical and psychological torture.

Such treatment also occurs in prison, where inmates face the risk of collective punishment in the form of denial of contact with family or isolation if they attempt to practice religious rituals together or even demand this right. There have been instances where prison guards have ridiculed Shia prisoners’ beliefs or rituals in addition to cases of Shia prisoners being beaten in relation to their right to freedom of religion.

IDO urges the Council to pressure Bahrain into investigating the allegation of sectarian discrimination and mistreatment in its detention centers and prisoners, in order to hold officers accountable. In addition, Bahrain must conduct proper training for its security personnel to encourage tolerance and respect for human rights.

Thank you.