facebook twitter youtube blogger flickr rss Previous Next Left Arrow Right Arrow alert

Bahrain: Continuous Targeting of Bahraini Opposition Former MPs

Bahrain Center for Human Rights condemns the continuous targeting of former Members of Bahraini Parliament because of their political opinions and criticism of government officials and bodies.

Bahrain Center for Human Rights has monitored the cases of former MPs, both Sunni and Shia Muslims, that have been punished in a variety of ways because of their political opinions. It demonstrates the constraints on freedom of expression and opinion against all citizens, including MPs in Bahrain.

Former MP, Jawad Fairooz, a member of al Wefaq opposition party and president of Bahrain SALAM for Human Rights confirmed that he was threatened during his time as MP from 2006 to 2011. Mr Fairooz was warned by a media personality that the State does not accept his activism and questioning of the government, and revenge against him will be sought “sooner or later”. On 2 May 2011, Mr Fairooz was arrested during the severe national security crackdown against anyone who showed support for the popular national demonstrations in February 2011. He was left in solitary confinement for more than 43 days and was subjected to physical and psychological torture before being released in August 2011 (1).

Mr Fairooz further stated that one of the investigators in the security apparatus said to him: “who do you think yourself to question and hold accountable the ruling family figures, even if they are ministers”.

Mr Fairooz was charged in a military court and was sentenced to imprisonment for 15 months in November 2012 after he was charged for an offence relating to freedom of opinion (2). The sentence coincided with the decision by the Interior Minister to strip 31 Bahrainis of their nationality, which included Mr Fairooz. His house was attacked on numerous occasions with Molotov cocktails and his pension fund has been ceased. His family has been targeted too, with his wife being briefly arrested in 2011, and has been harassed at work. Mr Fairooz was travelling outside of Bahrain when his citizenship was revoked, thus forcing him to seek asylum.

Mr Fairooz was not the only MP that was subjected to arrest and torture in the security crackdown in 2011, as another MP, Matar Matar, was also arrested on 2 May 2011 and was tortured as well according to reports (3). He too was released in August 2011 (4).

In November 2012, former MP Jalal Fairooz had his citizenship revoked whilst he was travelling abroad. His wife was targeted at her workplace and his daughter was expelled from her university as a form of retaliation against him.

In September 2013, former MP Khalil Al-Marzooq, the chairman of al Wefaq in Parliament, was arrested. He was detained for more than a month and was released on 24 October 2013 (5).

Further, in May 2014, Osama Al-Tamimi’s Parliamentary membership was revoked. Mr Al-Tamimi was also prevented from accessing his pension fund (6). He was arrested again in October 2014, charged with abusing police officers, with sentencing against him still on-going. His business place was attacked by armed forces in May 2012 after his criticism of the Prime Minister of Bahrain (7).

In December 2014, former MP Sheikh Ali Salman, Secretary General of al Wefaq and leader of the largest parliamentary opposition, was arrested and remains imprisoned following investigations of charges against his political statements (8). On a previous occasion, a tear-gas canister was directed at him, which caused major injuries to another who received the blow. Sheikh Ali Salman has been called in numerous times for investigations since 2011, and was investigated by the Military Prosecution. His house has been repeatedly hit with tear-gas canisters.

On 25 December 2014, former MP, Khalid Abdil-Aal, was called in for questioning by the Public Prosecution because of criticisms he tweeted in April 2014, charging him with the offence of “slandering the Ministry of Interior” (9).

In addition, on 14 January 2015, former MP, Jameel Kadhim, chariman of the consultative council of al Wefaq, was sentenced to 6 months in prison following the charge of “disrupting elections”. The Justice Minister brought forward the case against Mr Kadhim because of tweets he made where he suggested “political money runs in the election” (10).

As a result of this rhetoric, the Inter-Parliamentary Union has described Bahrain as one of the most dangerous of 7 countries in the middle-east for MPs that are active in human rights (11).

Bahrain Center for Human Rights has expressed its grave concerns regarding the absence of freedoms of expression and opinion in Bahrain, and that Bahraini MPs have paid a hefty price for exercising their rights in this regard. What they are experiencing from arrests and judicial-hounding to imprisonment is seen as revenge against their human rights and political activities.

In light of what has happened, Bahrain Center for Human Rights demands the following from the Bahraini Government: 

1- The prompt release of Sheikh Ali Salman and Jameel Kadhim along with all activists, political or otherwise, that are in Bahraini prisons, aswell as to drop the charges against them.

2- Cease revengeful crackdowns against former opposition MPs, which are being carried out in violation of their right to freedom of expression.

3- Ensure that all MPs are able to exercise their rights and duties in inspecting and questioning senior officials in Parliament without fear of reprisals.

 

[1] http://www.redress.org/case-docket/allegation-letter-concerning-jawad-fairooz

[2] http://www.alwasatnews.com/3714/news/read/714144/1.html

[3] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-14439733

[4] http://www.alwasatnews.com/3322/news/read/600526/1.html

[5] http://www.alwasatnews.com/4310/news/read/898764/1.html

[6]http://www.alhurra.com/content/%D8%A5%D8%B3%D9%82%D8%A7%D8%B7-%D8%B9%D8%B6%D9%88%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%86%D8%A7%D8%A6%D8%A8-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A8%D8%AD%D8%B1%D9%8A%D9%86%D9%8A-%D8%A3%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%85%D8%A9-%D9%85%D9%87%D9%86%D8%A7-%D9%81%D9%8A-%D8%B3%D8%A7%D8%A8%D9%82%D8%A9-%D8%AA%D8%A7%D8%B1%D9%8A%D8%AE%D9%8A%D8%A9/250040.html

[7] http://www.bahrainrights.org/ar/node/5282

[8] http://www.bahrainrights.org/en/node/7215

[9] http://www.alwasatnews.com/4493/news/read/947534/1.html

[10] http://www.bahrainrights.org/en/node/7229

[11] http://www.ipu.org/press-e/pressrelease201412081.htm

Bahrain: Reverse Nabeel Rajab’s Prison Sentence

Court Rejects his Appeal Despite ill-treatment in prison 
 
On January 15, 2018, in an appeals hearing that lasted only about ten minutes, a Bahraini Court rejected Nabeel Rajab’s appeal of a 2-year prison sentence for “spreading fake news that undermine the prestige of the state”,  and postponed once again his case for tweeting against the Saudi-led coalition war in Yemen to February 21, 2018. 
 
Bahrain routinely misuses the courts, which lack independence, to target members of the political opposition and civil society activists. Rajab's verdict comes a few weeks after Bahraini Courts also upheld life sentences for 6 people and strip 26 of their nationalities on three consecutive days. 
 
“We are very worried about Nabeel's safety and well-being," said BCHR today "Authorities should release him immediately, drop the charges against him, and investigate thoroughly his possible ill-treatment in detention." 
 
On arrival at the prison where he is currently detained, Nabeel Rajab’s hair was forcefully shaved, he was subjected to an invasive body search and his books and clothes were confiscated. He is still held in the same cell than convicted high-profile ISIS terrorists. 
 
The ruling means that Nabeel Rajab will now have to serve the remaining 11 months of a two-year prison term, for interviews he gave in 2015 and 2016 and for exercizing his right to freedom of expression. 

Bahrain: Relatives of exiled activists continue to be targeted amid ongoing unrest

The signatory human rights organizations express their condemnation over the continued targeting and harassment of human rights defenders and their families. "Human rights defenders have been subjected to systematic and continuous violations, including arbitrary detention, travel bans and torture". Testimonies documented by reliable human rights organizations confirmed the continued target and harassment of also the families of human rights defenders.

The signatory organizations confirmed that they have monitored and documented the abuse committed by members of the security services against Yunes Ahmed Sultan, a Bahraini citizen, who is also the brother of human rights defender Mohammed Sultan, member of Bahrain Center for Human Rights. This abuse had revealed the extent of the involvement of the security services in targeting and harassing the families of human rights activists, as well as the torture policy that has become systematic, rampant and frequent, accompanied by methods of sexual assault and harassment.

The latest victim is Yunes, who was subjected to physical and psychological torture and degrading treatment, was indeed sexually assaulted by officer Taher Al Alawi on November 26, 2017 in the Southern Province Police Station (Hamad Town, Roundabout 17). Yunes was coerced to work and cooperate with the security agencies to monitor human rights activity and monitor the activities of human rights organizations cooperating with the United Nations' human rights mechanisms. (The victim's statement is attached with this statement).

The undersigned organizations demand the Government of Bahrain to open a genuine investigation into this incident and stop the targeting and harassment of human rights activists and their families. The Government of Bahrain is bound by Article 2 of the United Nations' Declaration on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders.  The signatories also call on Bahrain to invite the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, Mr. Michel Forst, to visit Bahrain in order to stand upon the real situation of human rights defenders and their families.

The signatories:

  1. SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights
  2. Bahrain Center for Human Rights
  3. Bahrain Forum for Human Rights
  4. The European-Bahraini Organisation for Human Rights
  5. Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights

Testimony

"Yunes Ahmed Sultan", is a Bahraini citizen who has been interrogated, tortured, and threatened by Bahraini police officers on two recent occasions in November 2017.

On 19 November 2017, officers at the Southern Province Police Station (Hamad Town, Roundabout 17) called Yunes Sultan and ordered him to come to the station. He arrived 15 minutes later, and officers took him to the investigation officer's bureau.

The investigation officer questioned him about the activities of his brother Mohamed Sultan, a Bahraini refugee currently residing in France and two other exiled Bahraini rights activists, Sayed Yousif AlMuhafda, vice president of SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights, currently based in Germany and Hussain Jawad, Chairman of the European Bahraini Organisation for Human Rights, based also in France.

During the investigation, the officer accused Yunes Sultan of meeting with exiled human rights defenders in France and Germany, and of cooperating with others to overthrow the government in Bahrain. Sultan denied these charges, and the officer called two other policemen who threatened to beat him and sexually assault him.

The officer also offered him financial rewards in order to provide him with intelligence on the activits' movements and work.

On 26 November 2017, officers at the station called Sultan again and asked him to come and see officer Taher Al Alawi. Sultan arrived and was taken to officer Al Alawi's office. Officer Al Alawi offered him tea or water, Sultan first said "no, thanks" but the officer insisted, and Sultan chose water. Officer Al Alawi instead threw the water in Sultan's face and began to insult him and his religious beliefs.

Officer Al Alawi stated that they had evidence against him, and brought a laptop with photos of him in public ceremonies with a number of public figures, including Nabeel Rajab and others. Again, Sultan denied any criminal activities, and stated that he could not recall details of any conversations he had with these public figures.

Two officers pinned Sultan to the wall, and officer Al Alawi told them "Do what you wish." The three officers began beating Sultan and started stripping him off his clothes, and sexually assaulting him. They also began kicking him on different parts of his body.

Officer Al Alawi ordered the other officers to leave the room and take all Sultan's clothes away. Officer Al Alawi resumed the investigations with Sultan while totally naked and again accused him of "terrorist activities", and pressured him to provide information on his brother Mohamed Sultan and Yousif AlMuhafdah and Hussain Jawad, or he would charge him with various crimes linked to terrorism and collusion.

Later, the police guards returned Sultan's clothes and ordered him to dress. He later discovered that the underwear he was given was not even his own!

Yunes said that the officers told him he has 15 days to think about their offer and to come back to the police station. The fifteenth day ended on Monday, 11 December. From then on, they have called him numerous times but out of fear he did not answer any of the calls. On the 13th of December, at 1:00 AM precisely, Sultan received a call from officer Al Alawi in which he directly threatened him and said: "are you afraid of me? A call at this time of the night would of course scare you, wouldn’t it? Your deadline has finished"!

Yunes Sultan said he was intimidated and out of fear for his safety and wellbeing he is now in France where he began the process of filing an asylum claim after fleeing Bahrain on the same day of the 13th of December 2017.

 

 

 

Bahrain:Secret military courts sentence civilians forced to confess under torture

The general principles of the Comparative International Law and the International Bill on the judiciary and trials warn of trying civilians in military courts or extending the application of special judicial laws in extraordinary cases.

It is well known and recognized that military courts are those which handle offenses committed by military personnel and associated with their military functions, and this is how the military court was described in the 2002 Constitution of the Kingdom of Bahrain, and particularly in section b of Article 105 thereof, which stipulates that,

“The jurisdiction of military courts shall be confined to military offences committed by members of the Defense Force, the National Guard, and the Security Forces. It does not extend to other persons except when martial law is declared and within the bounds prescribed by law.”

However, after the report of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) was issued – especially paragraph 119, which led to consequent legal effects 5 nullifying the sentences of military courts during the period of the declaration of martial law that was accompanied by human rights violations, and then repeating the trials in civil courts – Bahrain resorted to surpassing this constitutional prohibition by amending Article 105 of the Constitution on March 30, 2017, lifting the constitutional impediment of trying civilians in military courts.

This constitutional amendment resulted in an amendment to the Military Judiciary Law on April 18, 2017, i.e. after less than twenty days and on an expedited basis. This law expands to make the military judiciary specialized in prosecuting civilians accused in the political cases stated in the Bahraini Penal Code (general law). 

Full report here

 

Julie Gromellon – Head of international relations - BHCR

BCHR IS  very concerned by the fact that the Bahraini authorities are using the counter-terrorism law to try ordinary civilians before Military courts and is using it as tool to suppress the political opposition. It is important to note that Bahrain is not a country facing pressing security issues or massive terrorist attacks that could justify this amendment of the law. 

Without posing any security threat, 7 Bahraini citizens are facing a military court this month and at least 2 of them under this new amendment may be sentenced to death penalty. According to BCHR findings most of these citizens were subjected to enforced disappearances, brutally tortured and denied their right to meet with their lawyers and families during the interrogation period.

Their trials violated the basic principles of fair trials, and the recent amendment on military Court might be used to condemn them to very harsh sentences, including death penalty, as already said. 

It’s also important to note that three of the accused were detained as children. 

For us it is clear that Civilians, and children in particular, should not be tried before military courts under any circumstances. 

We therefore call on the government of Bahrain should urgently transfer civilian cases to the regular courts and to place a moratorium on all death sentences; and ban all use of the death penalty;

We also call on the EU to Publicly support measures to end the trial of civilians before military courts.

Watch video here.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1epTyZIAlRHHu0yJH6LooWNL750Gvb1KO/view

Bahrain: Human rights defender Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja faces reprisals in detention after protesting poor prison conditions

One of Bahrain’s most prominent human rights defenders, Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, who is serving a life sentence for his human rights work, has protested unfair prison regulations. We, the undersigned, call for his release from prison, and barring that, for improved standards in Jau prison.

Al-Khawaja is the Founder and Former President of both the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) and the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), as well as the former MENA Protection Coordinator for Front Line Defenders. He has been held in Jau prison, since his sentencing in 2011, along with other human rights defenders and activists including blogger Dr Abduljalil Al-Singace who collectively make up the Bahrain 13. 

In the past year, Al-Khawaja and other prisoners of conscience have protested repeatedly about the deteriorating conditions in prison, which mimic the general deterioration of conditions in Bahrain for human rights defenders and civil society. 

Since 16 October, all of the prisoners’ belongings have been confiscated, reportedly for the purposes of being searched. When Al-Khawaja and others asked for the confiscated items to be returned, they were told “they are still under investigation." On 10 November, the prison authorities restricted all access to television, radio, books, and there are no independent newspapers available. Now, the only newspapers prisoners infrequently receive are government-backed. In addition, family visits have been further restricted so that prisoners are barely able to have a meaningful conversation. At the same time, all phone calls are closely monitored. Meanwhile, prisoners have also lost access to pens or paper, and all daily activities have been cancelled. 

This complete restriction from all independent outside information, and increased restrictions on limited family contact leaves the prisoners feeling completely cut off from the world while facing further constraint in their daily lives. These steps have reportedly come at the direction of the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Interior.

The undersigned are gravely concerned about Al-Khawaja’s claims that the main purpose of these restrictions is “primarily an act of retribution and secondarily for the of isolation - what the authorities are doing is tantamount to psychological warfare.”

After he sent a letter to the Ministry of Interior in November about the conditions in prison, Al-Khawaja was also denied the right to make any phone calls until 17 December, which the undersigned groups believe appears to be a reprisal against him for raising his complaint. 

In Al-Khawaja’s letter to the Ministry of Interior, he expressed that:

1. Even in oppressive countries that arrest, torture and try people, the authorities do not come back after six or seven years to retaliate against the prisoners who are essentially being held hostage because of things happening outside the prison and even outside the country.

2. What is happening is not a sign of strength and courage, but rather evidence of weakness and fear. It is proof that the person in power is feeling unstable, and because he cannot face the world he retaliates against people he's already holding hostage.

3. If you think that your actions will affect our determination and spirit, then you are committing a big mistake. On the contrary, it only strengthens our will and makes us more intent on continuing down the path we've chosen because it reaffirms the righteousness of our cause.

Al-Khawaja and the other high profile activists and human rights defenders have sent many letters of protest about these and previous prison restrictions, including the denial of medication and proper access to healthcare. We the undersigned are alarmed at reports that restrictions to proper medical care are ongoing despite numerous complaints by prisoners as well as international NGOs, the United Nations and other governments.

Yet every letter the detainees send receives a response dismissing their complaints by contending that the prison authorities are acting "according to the regulations."

According to Bahrain’s prison rules, male prisoners have the right to two hours of family visits a month (one hour bi-weekly) and a three-hour monthly visit for their spouses. In addition to violating their own prison rules, the government of Bahrain’s treatment of Al-Khawaja is in violation of a number of international legal principles. 

In particular, the prison authorities have failed to meet the standards set forth by the United Nations in the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (known also as the Nelson Mandela Rules). Rule 43 states that collective punishment is prohibited as torture or cruel treatment, and that the restriction of family contact cannot be used as punishment and can only be limited as strictly necessary for maintenance and order of the prison. 

The interference with family visits, the confiscation of paper and writing instruments, and the revocation of phone use is in violation of Rule 58, which provides that prisoners are entitled to contact with their family, in writing, telecommunications, and in-person visits. 

The removal of the television, radio, and newspapers is in violation of Rule 63, which requires that prisoners be informed regularly of important news items. The confiscation of books is also in violation of Rule 64, which states that every prison should keep a library for the use of prisoners. Bahrain has failed to meet each of these minimum standards. 

The current situation in Bahrain is dire. Human rights defenders are in jail, banned from travel, are in exile or are being intimidated to prevent them from working. Many human rights defenders have been called for interrogation and some have been abused and tortured, leading to some even announcing their intention to quit their human rights work. 

We the undersigned call on the authorities in Bahrain to:

  1. Immediately and unconditionally free Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja and other human rights defenders from prison; 
  2. Provide proper access to medical care and sanitary conditions in prison;
  3. Allow Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja and all prisoners proper access to families; and
  4. Guarantee in all circumstances that human rights defenders in Bahrain are able to carry out their legitimate activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.

Signed by:

Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB)

Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI)

Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR)

Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD)

Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)

CIVICUS, World Alliance for Citizen Participation

FIDH, under the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders

Front Line Defenders

Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR)

International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)

PEN International

World Organisation Against Torture, under the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders

Please circulate a link to this appeal using the hashtag #FreeAbdulhadi

Contacts:

Minister of Interior

Shaikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al-Khalifa

@moi_Bahrain

Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs

Shaikh Khalid bin Ali bin Abdullah Al-Khalifa

@Khaled_Bin_Ali 

 

 

CARAM Asia Media Statement on International Migrants Day 2017 for the Protection of Migrant Workers’ Rights

CARAM Asia Bhd (541195‑T)

5th Floor, Wisma Hamid Arshat, No. 12-5,

Jalan Bangsar Utama 9, Bangsar Utama 59000,

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Tel:(603) 22827708, 22821669 Fax: (603) 22821155

Email: caraminfo@caramasia.org

URL: www.caramasia.org

“Governments need to abide by international rights standards and guarantee migrants’ rights protections.”

NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations 

On December 18, 1990, the General Assembly adopted the international Convention on the Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, and it is on this day we celebrate International Migrants Day. We are supposed to be reminded of the enormous contribution migrants make to the global economy, to societies and communities in both source and destination countries. Instead, we are being reminded of the hardships they face on a daily basis.      

According to global estimates on migrant workers by the UN and the ILO, there are 244 million international migrants, of which 150 million migrants are in the global workforce and 75 million international migrants are living in Asia. South Asia and Southeast Asia are comprised of many heavily populous, low-income and developing countries, which aim to export manpower to ease unemployment at home and earn foreign exchange in the form of remittances. 

Despite the enormous contribution of migrant workers to the economies of their host countries and the remittances they send home, which help to maintain their families and boost the economies of their countries of origin, this sizeable population continues to endure hardship in silence.  The obligation of protecting migrant workers’ rights rests equally upon both source and destination countries. Unfortunately, governments commonly treat migrant workers as commodities. As a result, many migrants and migrant domestic workers suffer rights violations at the hands of employers, recruiting agents and other involved actors. Violations range from exploitation in the form of unpaid wages and wrongful dismissal, non-existence of employment contract or contract substitution, withholding of passports by employers, violence in the form of verbal/physical abuses, threats, wrongful arrest and detention, denial of medical care /treatment, and even torture. 

CARAM Asia, together with its 42 member organizations in 22 countries across Asia, urges all countries sending and receiving migrants to urgently provide protection mechanisms for migrant workers’ and to continue to work for wider ratification and practice of international conventions which provide migrants with rights protections including but not limited to: the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families; ILO Convention 143 (Convention concerning Migrations in Abusive Conditions and the Promotion of Equality of Opportunity and Treatment of Migrant Workers), and ILO Convention 189 for Decent Work for Domestic Workers.

In the six years since the International Labour Organization adopted Convention 189 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers in 2011, governments in nearly 50 countries have adopted labour reforms and policies and updated their legislation to provide better employment protection for domestic workers, and 24 countries have already ratified the Convention.  Within Asia Pacific, only the Philippines has ratified Convention 189, meaning that many source countries in the Asia Pacific do not provide their own citizens working as domestic workers proper protections as stipulated under Convention 189. 

ITUC reports there are over 67 million domestic workers in the world, the vast majority of them women. More than 11 million are migrant workers. Outside the official figures, some 17 million children are believed to be trapped in domestic work, many in conditions of forced labour. As long as domestic work remains unrecognized as formal work and beyond commensurate protections, abuse, sub-par wages and excessive working hours will remain the standard. However, there are some good practices, such as allowing domestic workers to organize into associations or unions in some countries.  However, in some countries there are systems in place like the sponsorship system known as the Kafala system. A system whereby an individual’s right to work and legal presence is dependent on his or her employer.  With tight restrictions on changing employers, this dependency renders workers vulnerable to exploitation. Bad practices, such as travel bans and the Kafala style systems, need to be culled.

According to the UN Treaty Collection Report, globally only 49 countries have ratified the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families.  Again we need to emphasise that Asian countries which send their citizens out to various parts of the world to Asia and Middle East to work have not ratified these important conventions. These countries’ reluctance demonstrates a lack of commitment to securing protections for their citizens who go abroad to work.  It is clear that the objectives of the labour sending countries is to earn foreign remittances at any cost, and for the labour receiving countries it is to get work done with reduced wages regardless of violations of international labour standards.

Governments are enforcing strict new laws and cracking down on undocumented migrants as a “national security” measure. This is problematic as it catches up those who may be victims of forced labour or trafficking in persons, and those who may be undocumented due to the negligence and/or exploitation by employers or agents and/or syndicates.

Crackdowns have been implemented in these countries for many years, but this has not helped authorities to solve the problem of regularizing labour migration. It has further victimized this vulnerable group, and left many in detention or deported back home to crushing debts paid to agents in order to have migrated in the first place.  Rather than punish migrants, governments need to address the root causes of migration and resolve systematic issues in the recruitment process which allow agents and middlemen to take advantage of migrants.  

On September 19, 2016 the United Nations General Assembly adopted a set of commitments during its summit on large movements of refugees and migrants to enhance the protection of refugees and migrants. These commitments are known as the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants (NY Declaration). The NY Declaration reaffirms the importance of the international protection regime and represents a commitment by Member States to strengthen and enhance mechanisms to protect people on the move. It paves the way for the adoption of two new global compacts in 2018: the Global Compact on Refugees and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.

CARAM Asia feels strongly that the voices of migrant workers should be included in the Global Compact on Safe, Regular and Orderly Migration drafting process, that migrant organisations and communities must be allowed to speak out on their own behalf, and that the Global Compact should be a rights-based document.  Global leaders need to address the root causes of migration and provide decent work opportunities in home countries so that migration becomes an option rather than a necessity, and provide proper protections for those who do chose to migrate. 

On this International Migrants’ Day, CARAM Asia and all member organizations in migrant sending and receiving countries reiterate our call to all governments to:

  • Ensure that basic human rights are respected for all migrants at all times as per international conventions and protocols;
  • Urgently take steps to ratify both ILO Convention 143 concerning Migrations in Abusive Conditions and the Promotion of Equality of Opportunity and Treatment of Migrant Workers, and ILO Convention 189 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers;
  • Develop effective systems of global governance on migration which are based on fundamental human rights and putting an end to modern slavery;
  • Reform the private recruiting industry and ensure that it is regulated using ethical practices which uphold the benefits and rights of migrant workers;
  • Incorporate a rights based framework in every bi-lateral or multi-lateral agreement on labour migration and make them legally binding;
  • Stop labour trafficking and bring all racketeers to justice across the migration continuum;
  • Take responsibility to ensure migrant workers access full redress through migrant friendly mechanisms which can bring them justice.

CARAM Asia (Coordination of Action Research on AIDS and Mobility) is a regional network of 42 organizations in 22 countries across Asia and has Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.  

This statement is issued by:  CARAM Asia Task Force on Migrant Workers’ Rights (MWR).

18 December 2017

Bahrain: Political Detainees between Suffering and Deprivation of Medical Care

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) expresses great concerns over the increasing complaints of political detainees over depriving them of medical care in Bahrain’s prisons and refusing to take them to hospitals.

BCHE has documented many cases in which the prisons’ authorities neglected the health-related complaints of the detainees.

Elias Faisal Al-Mulla, 26 years old, was arrested on the 11th of May 2012, after raiding his house without presenting an arrest warrant. Elias was taken to the General Directorate of Criminal Investigation where he was subjected to psychological and physical torture that included, kicking, deprivation of sleep and food, preventing him from praying, forcing him to stand for long hours and pressing him to sign false confessions. 

On the 5th of May 2013, Elias was sentenced to 15 years in prison for allegedly killing a member of the security forces and setting fire to a security patrol.

In May 2015, he started to have a severe stomach ache but he was not taken to the Military hospital until the 1st of August 2015.

Despite the fact that Elias was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer, and as a result suffering from ongoing vomiting, he was taken back to Jaw Prison [as he told his mother in a phone call]. 

On the 12th of August 2015, Elias’ doctor informed his mother that he suffers from cancer and that he needs to undergo chemotherapy treatments.

More about Elias health condition on the following link:

 http://www.bahrainrights.org/en/node/8411

Elias’ mother said that her son told her on the phone on the 16th of October 2017, that the administration of Jaw Prison refused to take [his] stool samples to Salmaniya hospital, the main public hospital in Bahrain. The hospital has already instructed to collect these samples on the 10th of September 2017 for examination in order to determine whether Elias  has been cured or not.

Not collecting and analysing these samples can significantly impact on the type of medications he is supposed to take. Elias was also deprived of getting his medicines which were previously prescribed by the hospital.

The postponement of collecting and transferring the samples for more than a month and at the same time depriving Elias of medical care have significantly affected his mother, causing her mental disorders.

His mother said that he has started to suffer from the same symptoms he was suffering from before, such as abdominal swelling, pain on the right side of the upper abdomen and pain in the joints, back and stomach.  He has also been suffering from severe diarrhoea since the 9th of July 2017, which has forced him to refrain from eating. In addition, he is still unable to have rest or sleep because of nausea, constant dizziness, blood clots in ankles and shortness of vision.

Despite all that both the administration of Jaw Prison and Salmaniya hospital refused to give Elias’ mother any updated medical report about the health status of her son. As a result, on the 17th of October 2017, she has lodged a complaint with the ombudsman and National Foundation for Human Rights over the deterioration of Elias’ health and the delay in allowing access to medical treatment.

Elias Al-Mulla is not the only one who has been denied medical care as BCHR has documented many other cases in which political detainees complained about being deprived of medical treatment [despite the fact that some of them have chronical diseases such as Sickle Cell Anemia]. It should be mentioned that the detainees usually go on hunger strike in order to be allowed to seek treatment in hospitals or to have access to medical care.

Ahmad Mirza, 33, who was born with Sickle Cell Anemia revealed to his family on the phone, on the 7th of May 2017 that the authorities in Jaw Prison do not provide the medications that he needs when he has severe pain.

Ahmad, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison, said that he needs a gallbladder removal surgery. He was supposed to do the surgery in 2016. However, whenever Ahmad had an appointment, the Jaw administration did not allow transferring him to the hospital. The last missed appointment was in March 2017.

His family said that the health status of their son is deteriorating as the level of the bilirubin reached 985 whereas the natural level should be at 21 only. This, according to doctors during an examination in January 2017, has affected his liver and spleen.

Ahmed told his family that, although he has sent several letters to the prison’s authorities, demanding to take him to the hospital on time, they have not responded to his calls and letters. On the 3rd of December 2017, his family received a call from him saying that he had severe pain and that he was not taken to the hospital in spite of his insisting requests.

Habib Yaqoub, 24, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison and was born with Sickle Cell Disease, told his family that the authorities of Jaw Prison barely provide medical care although he usually suffers from severe attacks.  This has led to worsen his health condition. 

Based on the statements and complaints of many political prisoners, BCHR states that this negligence is in violation of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, including article 22 which states, “Sick prisoners who require specialist treatment shall be transferred to specialized institutions or to civil hospitals. Where hospital facilities are provided in an institution, their equipment, furnishings and pharmaceutical supplies shall be proper for the medical care and treatment of sick prisoners, and there shall be a staff of suitable trained officers.”

It is also in violation of article 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which emphasises on the right to have access to medical care.

Based on the above, BCHR calls on the government of Bahrain and Commission on the Rights of Prisoners to be adherent to the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners especially when it comes to providing medical care and treatment.  

A Crime Outside Coverage: Report Monitoring Grave Violations in Supressing Al Duraz Peaceful Assembly in Bahrain

The four Bahraini human rights organisations, Salam Organization for Democracy and Human Rights (SALAM), Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR), Bahrain Forum for Human Rights (BFHR) and Gulf In itute for Democracy and Human Rights (GIDHR), call for an urgent inve igation on the recent raid on the peaceful sit-in in Duraz village, we of Manama the capital city, in solidarity with Sheikh Isa Qassim, whose nationality has been arbitrary revoked in June 2016. 

Read full report here: /sites/default/files/A%20Crime%20Outside%20Coverage.pdf

 

A Crime Outside Coverage: Report Monitoring Grave Violations in Supressing Al Duraz Peaceful Assembly in Bahrain

The four Bahraini human rights organisations, Salam Organization for Democracy and Human Rights (SALAM), Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR), Bahrain Forum for Human Rights (BFHR) and Gulf In itute for Democracy and Human Rights (GIDHR), call for an urgent inve igation on the recent raid on the peaceful sit-in in Duraz village, we of Manama the capital city, in solidarity with Sheikh Isa Qassim, whose nationality has been arbitrary revoked in June 2016. 

Read full report here: /sites/default/files/A%20Crime%20Outside%20Coverage.pdf