ADHRB at HRC55: The Required Action is to Empty Prisons of Prisoners of Conscience and Allow the Exercise of the Right to Protest

On 28th March 2024, ADHRB delivered an intervention at the United Nation Human Rights Council session 55 under item 9 during the General debate. ADHRB demanded actions to empty prisons of prisoners of conscience and allow the exercise of the right to protest.

The discrimination experienced by the Bahraini people in their right to protest for demanding their rights or in solidarity with humanitarian causes could not be hidden. Today, we live in a country with a million masks on the lists of constitutional laws, citizens’ rights, and human rights standards. However, there is a stark contrast between what is written on paper and what the people see and experience on the ground.

Prisons are filled with prisoners of conscience facing charges and cases unrelated to reality. We observe discrimination between the masses and the opposition, where one faction can protest and speak freely within the confines of a permit from the Ministry of Interior. In contrast, the opposition and those associated with dissolved organizations by political decision are denied this right under the pretext of lacking a permit. However, the real reason is the refusal to grant these permits to the opposition.

This political discrimination has resulted in the arrest of dozens, including children under the age of 18, and the political isolation of a significant number of citizens, depriving the majority of the people of the right to peaceful protest. This constitutes a violation of all international standards recognized by the Bahraini authorities, yet these standards are not being applied in reality.

What is needed is to release all prisoners from prisons and to allow the exercise of the right to protest.