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

Bahrain: Show trial of prominent human rights defender Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja continues before military court

against background of torture and intimidation

As the trial of human rights defender Abdulhadi Al Khawaja enters its final stages before a military court Front Line is reiterating its call for the immediate and unconditional release of Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja on the basis that he has been detained because of his legitimate exercise of the rights of freedom of association and freedom of expression. Front Line Executive Director Mary Lawlor attended the hearing.

Full Text of Press Release 01 June 2011 For Immediate Release

Bahrain – Show trial of prominent human rights defender Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja continues before military court against background of torture and intimidation

As the trial of human rights defender Abdulhadi Al Khawaja enters its final stages before a military court Front Line is reiterating its call for the immediate and unconditional release of Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja on the basis that he has been detained because of his legitimate exercise of the rights of freedom of association and freedom of expression.

Front Line's Executive Director, Mary Lawlor, attended the trial in Manama today.

“Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja is an innocent man who has been imprisoned and brutally tortured. His “crime” is to call for equal justice and human rights for all the citizens of Bahrain. I was today denied the chance to testify on behalf of Abdulhadi and it is increasingly clear to me that the pretense of legal process in this trial is a sham”.

The Danish, Swedish, French, US and UK embassies observed the hearing as did the National Human Rights Commission and the Bahrain Human Rights Society (BHRS). The trial was presided over by a judge in military uniform with 2 civilian judges who said nothing.

Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja has been held in detention in Bahrain since 9th April and has reportedly been subjected to torture which resulted in his requiring a 4 hour operation in a military hospital following injuries to his head. At a previous hearing the Judges refused to listen to his complaints of an attempted rape and refused again to order an investigation into the allegations of torture. There are also reports of at least four deaths in custody in the last 2 months amongst those detained by the Bahraini security forces.

Abdulhadi Al-khawaja, who until February 2011 was Regional Protection coordinator for the Middle East with Front Line, is currently on trial as part of a group of 21 individuals facing a variety of charges including ”organising and managing a terrorist organisation” and “attempt to overthrow the government by force and in liaison with a terrorist organisation working for a foreign country”.

No credible evidence has been presented against him. Front Line believes that these charges are politically motivated and considers his trial proceedings to fall grossly short of international fair trial standards. So far the defendants have been denied the right to present witnesses for the defence or to cross examine witnesses for the prosecution.

“While the recent promise of the King to “comprehensive serious dialogue on reforms — without preconditions” is welcome this promise lacks credibility given that similar promises have been made in the past without the commitment ever being honoured.. There can be little hope of a credible dialogue when human rights defenders are being held in incommunicado detention and tortured - when doctors and nurses who treated the wounded in hospital during the recent unrest have been arrested and ill treated and when prominent human rights defenders have either to go into hiding or run the risk of midnight raids on their home” said Ms Lawlor.

“The Government of Bahrain must honour its legal obligation to protect the human rights of all its citizens. They should start with the immediate release of all human rights defenders currently in detention and end the use of torture', she concluded.


Bahrain: MSF staff member remains detained

May 31, 2011

An employee of the international medical organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been detained for weeks in Bahrain after being severely beaten upon arrest by authorities, with no information provided about his condition and whereabouts, including to his family and lawyer.

Saeed Mahdi was arrested in Bahrain on the 6th May 2011, two days after his house was burned down by security personnel. “Since Saeed Mahdi’s arrest, we don’t have any information about where he is being detained, why he was arrested, or what charges are pending” said Jerome Oberreit, MSF director of operations in Brussels.

Despite assurances by the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Social Development that he could be visited, neither his family nor his lawyer has yet been granted access to him.

“Considering the types of injuries people have sustained due to mistreatment in detention, as witnessed by MSF medical personnel, we are extremely concerned about the safety of Saeed Mahdi,” continued Oberreit.

MSF is calling on the authorities to allow his family and lawyer immediate access to him.

MSF first had a team on the ground in Bahrain two days after protests began in February 2011, since then MSF has seen close to 100 people too afraid to leave their homes to seek care in health facilities. MSF raised concerns about the loss of neutrality of Bahrain’s medical facilities, and the related deprivation of care to numerous sick and wounded people in a report issued in April 2011.


Thirty IFEX members protest travel ban on Nabeel Rajab and other threats to BCHR

(Maharat/IFEX) - 31 May 2011 - Free expression advocates from around the world gathered this week in Beirut, Lebanon, at the 16th IFEX General Meeting. Thirty IFEX members signed on to the following letter protesting the travel ban on Nabeel Rajab, president of IFEX member BCHR:

We, the undersigned members of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), meeting in Beirut, Lebanon for the 16th General Meeting (GM) and Strategy Conference, call for the repeal of the travel ban enforced on Nabeel Rajab, president of IFEX member the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR).

On 29 May 2011, Rajab was once again prevented from travelling after he went to the airport to try to fly to Beirut to attend the IFEX GM. He was escorted from the airport and told he could not travel. He has tried unsuccessfully on several occasions to leave the country in the past few months. Rajab's family home has been attacked several times, including with tear gas and armed invasions. Other BCHR members have also been arrested, threatened with death and forced into hiding.

On 1 June, the King of Bahrain has promised to end the state of emergency he imposed in mid-March to quell pro-democracy demonstrations. This would be a welcome occasion for the Bahraini government to end human rights abuses including lifting the travel ban on Nabeel Rajab so that he can join us in Beirut.

Maharat Foundation (Skills Foundation) Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (Alliance of Independent Journalists) Arabic Network for Human Rights Information ARTICLE 19: Global Campaign for Free Expression Canadian Journalists for Free Expression Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations Center for Media Studies & Peace Building Centre for Independent Journalism Centro de Reportes Informativos sobre Guatemala Committee to Protect Journalists Egyptian Organization for Human Rights Freedom Forum Freedom House Free Media Movement Globe International Independent Journalism Center Index on Censorship International Federation of Journalists Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance Media Foundation for West Africa Media Institute of Southern Africa Media Rights Agenda Media Watch Mizzima News Norwegian PEN Pacific Islands News Association Pakistan Press Foundation Public Association "Journalists" Southeast Asian Press Alliance Writers in Prison Committee, PEN International


UNOG: Committee On Rights Of Child Examines Report Of Bahrain

1 June 2011 The Committee on the Rights of the Child today reviewed the combined second and third periodic report of Bahrain on how that country is implementing the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

In presenting the report of Bahrain, Fatema Mohamed Yousif Al Balooshi, Minister of Social Development, noted that the Kingdom of Bahrain was advancing the process of democracy, freedom and prosperity and that the Government was keen to protect the child, childhood and mothers. Bahrain had achieved all the Millennium Development Goals related to children. Recent developments for the protection of children included an amendment in 2002 to the Constitution stipulating a prohibition against exploiting or abusing children, the transfer of the care for children to the Ministry of Social Development and a restructuring of the National Committee on Childhood to broaden participation and develop a strategy for childhood. The recent violence by protestors had exploited children, preventing them from attending school and the Government was compelled to impose a National Safety Programme for three months. Now that this Programme was lifted, the Government had invited the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to the country to observe the situation.

Committee Expert Hadeel Al-Asmar, who served as Rapporteur for the report of Bahrain, noted that a number of laws, including the Bill on the Rights of the Child, had not yet been promulgated despite the fact that the Convention on the Rights of the Child was ratified by the Government without reservations. The Rapporteur said the Government needed to establish institutions, not committees, to monitor human rights mechanisms with budget priorities allocated for childhood areas. The Rapporteur was concerned that the proposal to increase the age of criminal responsibility from 15 to 18 years of age was refused and that the marriage age for girls of 15 could be reduced in certain cases which left the door open for families to traffic their daughters.

Jorge Cardona Llorens, the Committee Expert serving as Co-Rapporteur for the report, encouraged further coordination among Government ministries, highlighted the need for an independent institution for monitoring human rights in line with the Paris Principles and said there should be a revision in the definition of the age for criminal liability and marriage to be in alignment with the Convention.

Other Experts raised a series of questions pertaining to, among other things, what was done to ensure the prohibition of corporal punishment in all contexts including the family, how were children with disabilities integrated into schools, what was the minimum age for working in the country, how many children had been victims of violence from the recent protests and would children born to a Bahraini mother but not a Bahraini father receive the same rights and access to services when nationality was based on the father.

The Committee will release its formal, written concluding observations and recommendations on the report of Bahrain towards the end of its three-week session, which will conclude on Friday, 17 June 2011.

The delegation of Bahrain also included representatives from the Ministry of Development, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Social Development, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Interior, the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the National Children’s Fund, the National Committee for Childhood, the Salmanya Medical Complex, the National Foundation of Human Rights and the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Bahrain to the United Nations Office at Geneva.

As one of the 193 States parties to the Convention, Bahrain is obliged to present periodic reports to the Committee on its efforts to comply with the provisions of the treaty. The delegation was on hand throughout the day to present the report and to answer questions raised by Committee Experts.

When the Committee reconvenes on Friday, 3 June, at 10 a.m., it will consider the second periodic report of Cambodia (CRC/C/KHM/2-3).

Report of Bahrain

The combined second and third periodic report of Bahrain (CRC/C/BHR/2-3) notes that the draft personal status code with provisions on the family was not adopted by the legislature owing to opposition from certain religious leaders therefore all matters of personal status are governed by the Islamic sharia, including inheritance, custody, guardianship and trusteeship rights. There is no minimum age of marriage for girls. However, the Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs issued a decision on 23 September 2007 regulating the procedures for marriages of girls under 15 years of age, which requires a compelling need and permission to be obtained from a competent court.

The National Committee on Childhood was restructured in 2007 and entrusted with the task of coordinating the activities of government ministries and civil society organizations in the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and is in the process of preparing a joint programme with the United Nation’s Children Fund to establish a database on children in Bahrain. In November 2007 the Cabinet issued a decision on the establishment of a national human rights institution which is expected to design a national action plan for the promotion and protection of human rights in Bahrain, taking into account the relevant United Nations resolutions and, in particular, the Paris Principles.

Under articles 7 and 8 of the Bahraini Constitution, all citizens have the right to education and comprehensive health care free of charge. Bahrain does not have a system of adoption within the meaning set out in the Convention but it does have an alternative system of care (kafala or hadanah), which is applied in accordance with the Islamic sharia. The Convention is integrated into the curriculum taught at the Institute of Judicial Training and Studies of the Ministry of Justice. The Convention is also an integral part of the curriculum for the training course which the Bahrain Centre for Child Protection runs for professionals in various disciplines and those working with child victims of abuse and neglect. Concerning the Criminal Code, only persons under 15 years of age are relieved of criminal responsibility. The article stipulates that a person under 15 years of age cannot be held responsible for the commission of a criminal act and shall be dealt with in accordance with the Juveniles Act.

The Supreme Council for Women was established in 2001 to formulate an integrated strategy to promote the role of women and to eliminate, by 2012, discrimination against women in paid and voluntary work, political and family life, education and training, health, the environment, decision-making and economic empowerment. The Council’s ambition is to increase to 30 per cent the level of women’s participation in the legislature, which stood at 14 per cent in 2006. Although at present women do not participate in municipal councils, the Council has set a target of 10 per cent for female participation in these councils.

Presentation of Report

FATEMA MOHAMED YOUSIF AL BALOOSHI, Minister of Social Development of Bahrain, in presenting the combined second and third periodic report of Bahrain, said that the Kingdom of Bahrain was advancing the process of democracy, freedom and prosperity and the Government was keen to protect the child, childhood and mothers. Article 5 of the Constitution provided that the family was the cornerstone of society and the law should protect young persons from moral exploitation. Bahrain’s progress at the national and regional level was confirmed through health and educational statistics which demonstrated that the country had achieved all the Millennium Development Goals related to children. Recent violence by protestors had exploited children, preventing them from attending school which compelled the Government to act and impose the National Safety Programme for three months. Now that this Programme was lifted and life had returned to normal, the Government requested the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights pay a visit to the country to observe the situation.

The Government was working for the protection and promotion of children. All the basic indicators of the population, including economic and social conditions in the report and the involvement of children in workshops to hear their opinions, indicated how the Government was working to better the lives of children. The report was prepared with the collaboration of government and non-governmental organizations and since 2000 there had been a qualitative improvement in the economic, political and social situation of children. In 2002 there was an amendment to the Constitution that stipulated the prohibition of exploiting or abusing children. In keeping with the commitment to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the care for children was moved to the Ministry of Social Development and the National Committee on Childhood was restructured to include broader participation and the development of a strategy for childhood. The Government developed many mechanisms for the protection of children, including special agencies and clubs for youth and family counselling to provide protection for children. In addition, education and health were free of charge for all children and necessary services were provided for all children with disabilities. There were special programs for awareness building to decrease mortality among children and there was no discrimination by the Government between Bahraini children and those of foreigners. Children were encouraged to participate in internal and external organisations; the law on the situation of children would contain special chapters on health, social and educational care of children and on providing special assistance for children with disabilities and the finalisation of the national strategy for children would provide clear budgets for the execution of programs for children in Bahrain. The Kingdom of Bahrain, the Government and civil society organisations had all worked together to promote the best interests of children and the delegation was open to all recommendations for the protection of children.

Questions by Committee Members

HADEEL AL-ASMAR, the Committee Member serving as the Rapporteur for the report of Bahrain, said that the report included many of the challenges facing the Government and appreciated the inclusion of children’s opinions in the report. Bahrain was ranked 40 among countries of the world with a free economy attracting substantial investment particularly in the intellectual property sector. However, from 2002 until now the Bill on the Rights of the Child had not yet been promulgated despite the fact that the Convention on the Rights of the Child was ratified by the Government without reservations. The same situation applied to the Laws on Journalism, Families and Civil Society which were all delayed. The Rapporteur noted the need to establish institutions to monitor human rights mechanisms which had not occurred and Committees were in place instead of the national human rights institutions. A number of questions were raised on how the Government managed the affairs of the National Committee on Childhood in terms of coordination among ministries and other committees and what was the budget and priorities allocated for childhood areas. Information collection was insufficient and the lack of a special database for statistics on children was puzzling for an economically developed country such as Bahrain. Although considerable laws had been promulgated, there was a gap between the content of the Convention and new legalisation. The Rapporteur was concerned that the proposal to increase the age of criminal responsibility from 15 to 18 years of age was refused and that these children were treated as adults and that the marriage age of 15 for girls could be reduced in certain cases which left the door open for families to traffic their daughters. What was the status on the recommendation that children between 15 and 18 be moved to the responsibility of the Ministry of Development? Recently 300 children were awarded the possibility to have nationality, but the Committee wanted laws that applied to all children, not just to specific groups, as this could be seen as discriminatory.

The Rapporteur said that concerning discrimination between girls and boys, she was disappointed that there was still stereotyping of women in school because the first Arab woman who flew a plane was a Bahraini woman, but now vocational training was only offered to boys. There was widespread illiteracy amongst girls in Bahrain despite compulsory education and the teacher student ratio being 1 teacher for every 13 students. Also, girls were sent to be educated with old women and then reintegrated into normal schools at a later age, a form of discrimination against girls. There was discriminatory treatment of people with disabilities and because Bahrain had not acceded to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities this posed a significant issue in the country. The Rapporteur said that children were not heard in the case of divorce, sexual rape or abuse, and in cases of early marriage. The Rapporteur raised a number of issues regarding the judiciary including: who was responsible for appointing judges, could Bahraini nationals or foreign residents choose the judges who would consider their case, in what way was the integrity of judges maintained and what was done in the case of unfair verdicts. In 2010 a number of civil society organisations were prosecuted because they freely expressed their view on satellite television. What rules were required for civil society organisations? The Rapporteur raised an issue on the right of children to have access to information regarding their sexual life, information which they would not want to receive from parents. If only 33 per cent of people in Bahrain had access to the internet then what efforts were being undertaken to increase internet usage. Concerning family reunification, did foreign labours have the right to bring their families into Bahrain?

JORGE CARDONA LLORENS, the Committee Member serving as the Co-Rapporteur for the report of Bahrain, said that Bahrain’s level of economic development was commendable; however, news about children who were victims of violence during recent protests caused concern among Committee Members. How many children were detained during recent protests, were they still detained and how many children had died or been injured during these events? The Co-Rapporteur asked what procedures had been undertaken to implement the Committee’s observations because most of the legislation remained draft laws. In 2007 a decree established the National Human Rights Institution; was this organisation now operational, what activities did it carry out and did the institution fulfil the Paris Principles? Concerning the integrated human rights plan, had this study been implemented or put in place? The Co-Rapporteur could not understand the allowed aged differences for marriage between girls and boys, 15 for girls and 18 for boys, and requested an explanation and statistics on the number of marriages between children aged 15 and 18. There was also an incompatibility between mandatory education up to the age of 15 and employment allowed at 14.

The Co-Rapporteur was concerned about how the Government applied the superior interests of the child in cases where girls were allowed to marry before the age of 15 due to sexual relations which allowed the perpetrator to avoid the penalty of a ten year imprisonment term. In terms of the right to life, survival and development the Co-Rapporteur was concerned with the penal code that treated children aged 15 and over as adults. The death penalty was not applied to minors but life in imprisonment could be applied and in July a child was condemned to life in prison and the Co-Rapporteur asked for details on this case. As domestic employees were not included under the labour code, were there statistics on minors under the age of 14 that were employed as domestic employees and what protections were in place for them.

Other Committee members asked about the workshop carried out by Parliament on child friendly budgeting and what had Bahrain’s Government done to fulfil its international aid assistance which the United Nations had recommended to be 0.7 per cent of Gross Domestic Product? What was the Government’s view on having a UNICEF country office and more integrated programmes?

An Expert asked what measures had been taken to adopt the Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers and what had the Government done to educate and work with religious leaders who were opposed to the passing of the personal status code which had now been delayed for eight years. When would the national plan of action for children be ready and would it be part of the overall development programme for the country? What proportion of Government resources were dedicated to children? What was the State party doing to ensure that the private sector, including foreign companies based in Bahrain with activities abroad, acted with responsibility toward the rights of the child either in Bahrain or outside the county? There were reports of torture in police stations and since May 2011 there were reports of special courts for adolescents where martial law was being applied.

A Committee member asked if there was codification of shaira law and what was the discretionary power for judges to provide for the best interests of the child. For example, the right to custody: in the Muslim religion custody would not mention the religion of the mother, so how did the courts address this issue? An Expert asked the delegation to clarify the nationality requirements for children born to parents of non-Bahraini nationality.

Another speaker asked how child participation was guaranteed in the National Committee for the Childhood. Concerning the delay in the adoption of legislation, the political will of the State seemed to be thwarted by the personal interpretation of religious leaders of sharia law. The Expert asked what the Government was doing to spread a culture of rights based polices and whether seminars and workshops were held to raise awareness about children’s rights and the concepts and principles of the Convention. An Expert encouraged the Government to increase its collection of data to provide information at the household level.

The Chairman asked what had been done since the last report on corporal punishment in the legislative sphere. What training had been done across Government entities on the superior interests of children?

Did the draft law provide for awareness-raising among public authorities or private companies concerning their responsibilities toward children? The National Committee for Childhood had no resources and no secretariat, so how could it carry out the job of developing a strategy which included providing data and research? Was there a plan to establish a child-specific statistical system to provide disaggregated data on children?

Did the National Committee for Childhood hold regular, periodic meetings or were the meetings based only on the projects?

Information related to mortality, morbidity and education was easier to find than data related to the protection of children. Were there systems in place to allow children to report incidents, and was there data disaggregated by age and gender?

Response by the Delegation

FATEMA MOHAMED YOUSIF AL BALOOSHI, Minister of Social Development, said that the delay in the enactment of the Children’s Code was due to the Legislative Council which had referred articles to technical committees and as the Government’s opinion was not binding it could not push it forward any faster. By the end of this year the Law of the Child would be enacted. The Personal Status Law was enacted two years ago except for the Shia part due to demonstrations and so the law was being applied only in the Sunni courts. Concerning the Laws on Journalism and Publications there were still difficulties in passing them. Concerning the Social Society Law, the draft bill was before the legislature.

There was a fund for the Support of Civil Activities, the so called non-governmental organization fund which gave USD 1 million annually to promote awareness of children’s issues. There was a law on associations which would allow for children’s participation. Two thirds of the annual budget of the non-governmental organization fund came from the private sector and certain projects were funded by private companies.

The National Committee on Childhood was redesigned at the end of 2007, and now one part crafted policies and the other part supervised the Government and private sector. The implementation of projects was not the responsibility of the Committee which was up to Government and civil society to implement. A new national strategy was being designed, in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund, which would be submitted to the Council of Ministers to adopt it and once this was done the Committee would allocate budgets and specific plans which would then be returned to the Council of Ministers for approval of each budget line. The Minister said that within two years there would be clear budget lines for childhood.

There was an annual budget for the Committee which was a part of the Ministry of Social Development which included a budget of USD 150,000 for strategy work, half of which was reserved for the Government, and the rest of which for the United Nations Development Project.

The Kingdom of Bahrain was one of the first countries in the region to develop a 10 year census for all citizens. A central system was updated every 5 years and there was an electronic map with a disaggregated system on the whole population which was used to evaluate children. The Ministry of Education had a database that covered the period for when children began schooling and was updated annually. In the Ministry of Social Development statistics were updated annually on a concept that would last up to 2030 with national indicators and targets for social development and economic matters. Bahrain was working with the United Nation’s Children’s Fund to implement the database.

The National Committee on Childhood met on a monthly basis in addition to meetings of the Executive Board, which was sometimes held on a weekly basis. Bahrain began the Multiple Indicator Cluster survey in 2001 and was only the second country to include the incidence of HIV/AIDS among women.

The Minister said that data was disaggregated by gender and age group and there were statistics on sexual attacks against children. In 2007, a central protection centre was established for children. In 2010 there 237 cases, in 2011 there were 65 cases at the centre. There was an implementation mechanism in the centre with specialists who had daily contact with children who were being protected. There was a hotline to answer children’s questions.

Judges were appointed and trained by the judicial institute through public lectures. Children brought before judges often had difficulty communicating, especially if the attacker was present, so they were able to speak with the judge in a private hearing. During Court hearings a judge and social worker were present. If the child or guardian appeared before a judge, that person could request a change of the judge. If the victim could not afford a lawyer, the Government would cover the costs of a lawyer. Concerning unfair judgement, a sentence could be appealed by the accused after which the case would be referred to the Court of Cassation.

Further Questions by Experts

Concerning primary health care, to what degree were children with disabilities integrated into schools and what was being done about the shortcomings on breast feeding and awareness-raising for this practice? Was there a national strategy on the immunisation of children? Those that were HIV positive carried a stigma as there was no awareness as to how this disease was spread and the Committee would like to know if the Government was fostering a culture of peace and tolerance in school curriculum.

Was care available for girls after the age of 14 or was it only available for boys? With regard to preschool education, there appeared to be 50 per cent of children in private preschool centres; were there preschool facilities available in the public sector? Concerning children in conflict with the law, at the moment that a child was detained were independent structures available for children and also what courts and detention centres existed for children from the ages of 15 to 18 and were these separate from adult facilities? What special measures were provided to ensure education and medical attention for detained children?

Bahrain had yet to ratify the Hague Convention so how could the Government ensure children who had been taken out of the country illegally were returned?

Was there a strategy to train young people about contraceptive methods? Because of the limited number of public institutions to deal with children before school age, up to the age of 5, the Committee would like to know what efforts the State had undertaken to provide this service free of charge. As 7 per cent of illiterate people were women, what was being done to address this issue?

Concerning the increase in child abuse cases, was this due to better reporting or an actual increase in abuse. Were there any social policies or a comprehensive framework for child protection? Were medical professionals required to report abuse cases and how were children protected if the abuse occurred in the home? Was there a system to monitor child abuse recidivism to make sure that the abuses would not reoccur?

Had Shia children been more poorly treated than Shiite children during the recent demonstrations? Concerning the right to education, there were certain political groups that had taken children out of school to participate in political activities and to join the formation of local militias which was of great concern to the Committee, along with the use of children by authorities to act as informants. There was a recent report of a child being tried in front of a martial court which was against the Convention. Could the death penalty be applied to children?

A Committee member asked about the compulsory pretesting of sickle cell anaemia before marriage, could the delegation explain how this was done and what impact it had on individuals? Had the Government considered using universal iodized enriched salt to avoid mental disabilities in children and adults, which were prevalent in Bahrain? What life skills education was introduced either through schools or other informal channels?

A Committee Expert said statements were provided by individuals to validate the violence during the recent protests and the Expert noted specific information about two deaths of minors. An Expert wanted to know how many schools formed the object of inspection from the police force during the protests and how many schools were raided by police officers along with how many children were detained.

A Committee member said there was concern about a quota that applied to the children of foreigners which meant they would pay a different health care rate than Bahraini nationals. What was the minimum age for working in the country? Would the children born to a Bahraini mother but a non Bahraini father receive the same rights and access to services if nationality was granted based on the father? Under the Convention, all children should have the right to citizenship and the Committee was concerned that in some cases children would remain stateless if their father’s foreign nationality was not granted to them or in the case when the father was not known or in the case of divorce.

A Committee Expert asked what system existed for pre-schooling. Had the Government of Bahrain signed the Code of Conduct for marketing of milk substitutes?

A Committee member noted an indictment on 5 July 2010 of an individual aged 17 to life imprisonment for the murder of a policeman and said this was in violation of the Convention and would like additional information. The Chairman stressed that the protection of children under the Convention went from 0 to 18 years old and not until 15 years which was not in line with international standards. A Committee Expert asked about how the Government managed family situations in cases of children with disabilities or in cases of divorce and how were the interests of the child taken into account?

Response by the Delegation

FATEMA MOHAMED YOUSIF AL BALOOSHI, Minister of Social Development of Bahrain, said that the recent demonstrations had started peacefully but were hijacked by an extremist violent group with clear relations with militias and terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and the involvement of foreign governments. There were no statistics compiled by the Government on ethnic backgrounds so it was not possible to provide information on this. The claim that Sunni students attacked Shia students was invalid and the Minister urged the Committee to validate any information provided by non-governmental organizations. Most of the victims of violence were Sunni students, there were nine cases of Sunni students that were attacked, and those students were currently being treated. The Government had a huge challenge to bring the people of Bahrain together to get over the events of this unfortunate period. The Minister stressed that the international media had presented biased coverage of the demonstrations along with international human rights organizations.

In terms of juveniles, the legal system was very clear, there were specific detention centres for children between 15 and 18 years old and those under 15 were sent to juvenile detention centres.

A law for domestic workers was in the process of being reviewed which would allow the families of foreign workers to join them. Public and private schools were open to all nationalities resident in the country and was not based on Bahraini nationality.

There were no domestic workers below 18 years old in the country. There was Government health insurance for all workers in the country with nominal fees for visiting doctors. Children received the same access to services whether only their mother or father was a national of Bahrain. Health care and education were free to all living in Bahrain.

Nationality was granted on the father’s side therefore children would always take the nationality of their father which raised the issue of how to help Bahraini women whose husbands’ were of other nationalities. The Government could use ministerial decrees and exemptions by the King to provide those children with Bahraini nationality. The Ministry of Social Development would not allow any child to be stateless within the country and would care for these children and provide citizenship for them.

Concerning education, the delegation said that if stereotyping existed in vocational training it was due to the cultural background and heritage of the society.

The Ministry of Education monitored all day care centres caring for children from age 3 to 5 years old and the Ministry of Social Development was responsible for nursery care for children from 1 to 3 years. Preschools and nurseries operated only in the private sector and the Government was responsible for monitoring, supervising, registration, and teacher training. Some poor families could benefit from charities to subsidize preschool and nursery costs.

The Government had developed a unique system of recording and following children from the day of their birth to adulthood. The Ministry of Health was considering a system to follow children between ages 4 and 6 years old before they entered school. A National Committee for Teenagers Health was created along with a medical clinic catering to teenagers. Reproductive health was included in the school curriculum.

Life skills education began five years ago in grade 6 with a focus on the family. From grade 1 to 12 children’s rights, women’s rights and human rights were included in the curriculum.

There was a large campaign for breast feeding carried out through the Ministry of Health and a law was passed that provided two hours of leave every day for women for up to two years for breast feeding. Women were taught the benefits of breast feeding and many women had returned to this practice. The Government had strict regulations on milk substitute products, including laboratory work.

The mandatory testing of sickle cell anaemia had reduced the number of cases in the country but the Government would not compel a couple not to get married if they tested positive.

Juvenile law applied to children aged 7 to 15 years while the criminal law applied to children aged 15 to 18 years with the judge able to apply discretion to take into account mitigating factors. The Government would like to increase the age of juveniles from 15 to 18 years but was waiting for the legislation to be passed.

All couples applying for divorce were required to go through a counselling system, which had resulted in the termination of hundreds of potential divorce cases. Non-governmental organizations also provided free legal advice and shelters for women. The Government had created a welfare fund to assist divorced women and established a system of foster care where foster families would be trained and funded to care for children in difficult conditions. The judge could refer the child to the Public Prosecutor’s Office who could interview the child on his opinion in addition to home visits to evaluate where was the best place to send the child and which parent should be given custody.

Further Questions by Experts

A Committee Expert asked if the Government’s position on general care for orphans and children with special circumstances was for institutional or home care. If the child’s wish for custody contradicted the law then would the child’s wishes be granted?

A Committee member asked the delegation to confirm whether or not there was a problem with child labour or street children in Bahrain?

A Committee Expert asked what the Government had done to ensure the prohibition of corporal punishment in all contexts including the family context.

Response by the Delegation

Regarding children whose parents’ identity was unknown, the Government provided excellent services in a centre that was opened in 1986 and which had received a total of 140 children up until 2011. The Social Security Law allocated funds to support foster families.

Bahrain had signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Government was waiting for the King to sign the legislation. The Ministry of Social Development had 7 centres for children with disabilities and sponsored 100 per cent of the budget of 13 non-governmental organizations which provided services for children with disabilities. Each person with disabilities received a monthly allowance of $ 250 in addition to free equipment such as wheelchairs, hearing aids and glasses. The Government had a programme that provided a laptop for every blind person in the country.

The Minister said that there was no child labour in Bahrain. Some families abused their children by using them for begging and a law was applied to stop this practice. Shelters were provided for any homeless families to protect children. There was no poverty in Bahrain. The welfare system was strong, providing for nine categories of people, and unemployment was available along with a pension system. A programme called ‘Graduating People Out of Poverty’ was implemented to train individuals on how to be entrepreneurs and the Government had created a microfinance bank to provide funding for low income people. The Government allocated $ 200 million per year to support families whose income was near or below the poverty line.

Preliminary Concluding Remarks

HADEEL AL-ASMAR, the Committee Member serving as the Rapporteur for the report of Bahrain, said she appreciated the frank and open dialogue and the clarification of some issues. The Rapporteur looked forward to receiving further information that went to the core of the Convention, including draft laws that were on the point of being adopted and data that would provide more information on the situation of children and she hoped that all the remaining issues would be resolved in the best interests of Bahrain’s children.

JORGE CARDONA LLORENS, the Committee Expert serving as the Co-Rapporteur for the report of Bahrain, said that there had been a fruitful dialogue and that the delegation showed a clear determination to comply with the Convention despite internal difficulties. The Co-Rapporteur encouraged further coordination among Government ministries, and highlighted the need for an independent institution for monitoring human rights in line with the Paris Principles and a revision in the definition of the age for criminal liability and marriage to be in alignment with the Convention. There was a need for the State of Bahrain to look at the spirit of the Convention and to empower children as rights holders, not as objects of protection.

FATEMA MOHAMED YOUSIF AL BALOOSHI, Minister of Social Development of Bahrain, said that the delegation had gone through a fruitful debate and discussion and would return to Bahrain with new ideas and many doors to open. Bahrain would always be a country that would honour human rights, especially children’s rights.

For use of information media; not an official record


Final Recommendation document


HRF: Reports of Peaceful Protestors Attacked in Bahrain

Washington, D.C.—Human Rights First is gravely concerned at reports that peaceful protestors in several locations across Bahrain have been attacked today by security forces using teargas, buckshot and rubber bullets. Today marked the official lifting of Bahrain’s State of Safety but the crackdown appears to be continuing.

“We are hearing reports from Bahrain that protesters have been attacked by government forces. The wounded are staying away from hospitals fearing that they will be detained if they seek medical treatment.In another ominous development, human rights defenders are being summoned to report to police stations. The U.S. government must speak out against any attacks on peaceful demonstrations with at least the same urgency and level of concern that it has demonstrated elsewhere in the Middle East when pro-democracy protestors have been attacked,” said Brian Dooley of Human Rights First.


Bahrain government targeting Freedom of expression and suppressing truth by intensifying crackdown on Photographers

31 May 2011

Bahrain Center for Human Rights voices its deep concern over Bahrain’s nonstop attack on the freedom of speech, expression and publishing which have been evident in their mass and brute attack on Bahrainis photographers, by firing them from their jobs, assaulting them on duty and arresting them, merely, for their involvement in documenting the events of Bahrain’s revolution which exposed the sever Human Rights violations by the government of Bahrain against protesters. “A picture is worth a thousand words” a saying proven true once again by Bahrain’s uprising; since February 14, photography spoke out of the peacefulness and nonviolent nature of the Bahraini protesters in pearl roundabout and revealed the legitimacy of their demands for political reforms to the world. It, also, exposed the brutality of the Bahraini government through photos of killing, arresting, torturing and terrorizing civilians.

Photographers, both professional and amateur, have had a vital role in documenting pro-democracy protests in Bahrain. During the first days and through their photos they were able to educate and inform the public of the demands of the protesters by covering their peaceful rallies[1] , events calling for unity like the human chain[2] and informative and educational speeches by Bahraini intellectuals held every night in the pearl roundabout. Bahraini photographers were also active protesters with their own demands which they expressed in the photographers’ rally on 28 Feb 2011; they held signs saying “A Picture delivers an effective message of Justice” and “No for arresting photographers”[3] . Whilst, international media was either banned from entering Bahrain or did not give any priority to covering Bahrain’s events, it was the Bahraini photographers who have covered the violent crackdowns on the protesters by the pearl roundabout, in front of Salmaniya Medical Center[4] , and by Bahrain Financial Harbor[5] by using tear gas canister, rubber bullets and live ammunition against unarmed protesters. Also, their covering exposed the role of the thugs protected by the security men in the attack on the University of Bahrain[6] . These photos and videos were soon distributed via the social networks and some of the media channels.

Their role became even more critical especially after imposing the Martial law on March 15, 2011 which limited media coverage; foreign journalists and photographers have been deported and banned from entering Bahrain and local media coverage was limited to government’s official statements, in order to prevent the dissemination of information about protests. Despite of that, Bahraini photographers continued to cover the atrocities of the Bahraini government by documenting the daily security crackdowns on citizens at checkpoints[7] , vandalizing their cars[8] and exposing the use of army vehicles to seize villages, although, Bahraini officials claimed that their role was to guard the vital institutions of State, not only that but they went as far as demolishing Shiite mosques and places of worship[9] .

The government of Bahrain started targeting photographers and photojournalists since the early days of the uprising, at least 2 Bahraini photographers were harmed by security forces while covering protests, Mohammed Al Mukhreq , photojournalist working for Al Wasat newspaper, was assaulted while doing his job taking photos of Bahrain Financial Harbor protest on March 13, 2011. He was attacked by the government thugs who were backed up by the security forces[10] . He was kicked, beaten then briefly arrested before they released him to be rushed to get medical treatment. Abdullah Hasan, another photojournalist, working for Al Watan newspaper had his leg broken after a security car hit a pickup truck on which he was standing while covering[11] the clashes near the Financial Barbour on the same date, March 13, 2011. Mazen Mahdi, DPA reporter, was briefly arrested while taking photos of thugs attacking and destroying shops in Riffa, on March 11, 2011[12]

Abdullah Hasan recovering from his injury at the hospital

In its continuous attempt to suppress the freedom of speech and expression, the government has intensified its crackdown on photographers recently. After imposing the national safety law on March 15, 2011. Reports confirm that more than [20] photographers have been targeted by being sacked from their jobs, interrogated, banned from traveling and arrested after dawn home raids with their cameras and photographic equipments confiscated; some are local and international award winners, 7 of them have been arrested in one week and 4 of them arrested in one day only. [See List of all targeted media professionals including photographers]

The photographers, Mujtaba Salmat and Hussain Abbas Salim (known as Hussain Al-Khal), were among the firsts photographers to be arrested on 17th and 28th March, respectively. Both are members of Bahrain Society for Photography and were covering the protests in Pearls Square. Mujtaba Salmat has published these photos on his Facebook page. He was released after one month in detention.

Jameel AlShuaikh the photographer of Al Wefaq political society was arrested, on April 21, after the security forces surrounded his car in the village of Sar and forced him to step out of it, he was then beaten and forced into one of their cars. (See the video of his arrest[13] )
On May 11, early morning, Mohammed Al Shaikh, prominent freelance photographer, 13 international award winner and head of Bahrain society of Photography, was arrested[14] from his apartment in Sanabis village, his cameras and his photographic equipments were confiscated, prior to that he was sacked from his job in the Bahrain Aluminum company [15].

On May 15, the crackdown heightened even more, at least 4 photographers were arrested including Saeed Abdulla Al Dhahi’s whose house got raided by security forces, he got arrested and all his cameras and other photographic equipments were confiscated, then his fiancée home got raided in search for his cameras there and they were confiscated too[16] . The mass photographers arrests also included Ali AbdulKarim Alkufi[17] , member of photography club at Bahrain Art Society and Hasan AlNasheet, the vice president of the Bahrain Society of Photography, an awards winner photographer, and associated with Islamic work society (political oppositional society targeted and many members arrested). Saeed was released after around 24 hours of detention while Ali and Hasan were held until 20 May 2011 before being released.

Between May 15 and 22, 2011 another five photographers were arrested, amongst them one of the founders of Bahrain Society of Photography and the Head of the technical committee in the Society, Nedhal Nooh, who was arrested on 18 May 2011 and a 17 years old Zainab Al Satrawi, a member of the Bahrain Society of Photography and a secondary school student who was pulled out of classroom while having her final exam on 22 May 2011. She was released after several hours of detention.

The arrest of photographers also included 2 professional photojournalists working for local newspapers: Mohamed Ali AlAradi, working for Al Bilad newspaper who was arrested on May 8, 2011 and Abdullah Hasan who was sacked from Al Watan newspaper just few weeks before his arrest on May 14, 2011.

Bahraini photojournalists working for Western media had their shares of government’s violence towards photographers, Mazen Mahdi, who works for the German news agency DPA, was detained by police on May 22, 2011. Mahdi said he was held for several hours, handcuffed, blindfolded and beaten until a senior officer arrived to interrogate him[18] . He also said that one of the officers threatened to torture him with electric shocks; during interrogation he was cursed at for covering the recent protests, crackdowns and arrests in Bahrain[19] . He added that investigation questions were about his Twitter postings, stories published on DPA and whether he had links to Lebanese or Iranian media. He was released after around 2 hours with the chance of being called back in again.

At least one photographer has been tried before a military court for charges related to his photography. Hasan Salman Al-Ma'atooq, 29 years old, nurse and photographer was arrested on 23 March and he has been sentenced to 3 years in jail on 12 May 2011. The charges related to photography are: [1- Fabricating pictures of the wounded. 2-Broadcasting false news and fabricated photos].[20]

As for the photographer Hussain Marzooq who was sentenced[21] on 8 Feb 2011 to 1 year in jail and BD100 fine for the crime of “transmitting photos that would bring harm to Bahrain abroad”. In the court Hussain alleged that he is being subjected to severe beating and hanging by the hands and feet in the Falaqa way, however, the judge disregard his complaint, despite the apparent marks of torture on his wrists[22] .

Most if not all of the detained people since the last crackdown in March have not been allowed to meet their families and lawyers throughout the period of detention which raises more concerns about possible ill-treatment they might be receiving in detention.

Bahrain Center for Human Rights believes that the intensifying crackdown on these prominent and active photographers aims at putting an end for their activities of dissemination of photographs that exposes the crimes of Bahrain’s regime to the world; an attempt to conceal the real image of what is happening in Bahrain from the world public opinion. Transmitting photos about the incidents in Bahrain cannot be considered a crime in any form, but it is rather the right of people to express. The arbitrary arrests and trials that target freedom of opinion and expression emphasize the government’s failure in convincing the world of the wrong image it is attempting to promote in order to justify the deteriorating human rights condition in Bahrain.

Freedom of speech and expression is a constitutional right in Bahrain[23] and a basic right for all human beings. The BCHR considers that arresting and criminalizing photographers as a blatant violation of the international charters and covenants concerned with human rights and in specific Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which states that “Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, this right includes freedom to seek various forms of information and ideas, receive and impart it to other regardless of frontiers, either in writing or in print, in the form of art or through any other media of his choice.”

Based on all the above, the BCHR demands the Bahraini Authorities to:

(1) Release all the arrested photographers, (2) Put an end to physical and mental abuse and torture in prisons, and to initiate a neutral, public and impartial investigation in the torture allegations and other violations, and to present the violators to justice. (3) Annul all the procedures that restrict freedom of opinion and expression or that prevent the transmission of information. (4) Attain its international commitments and respect all forms of freedom of expression and publishing as stated in the international charters and covenants.


[1]http://pomed.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/2011222185547169572_20.jpg [2]http://jafrianews.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/bahraini-shia-sunni-human-chain.jpg%3Fw%3D150 [3]http://www.voice-hussein.com/vb/showthread.php?t=45260&page=2 [4]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0s1E-eefEz0 [5]http://www.arabianbusiness.com/incoming/article386425.ece/ALTERNATES/g3l/110032584.jpg [6]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_6V5pJH6w8 [7]checkpoints1.png checkpoints2.png checkpoints3.png [8]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukpriV35efo&feature=youtu.be [9]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqUNA19OEDA [10]http://www.alwasatnews.com/3111/news/read/532281/1.html [11]http://www.alwasatnews.com/data/2011/3112/pdf/loc9.pdf [12]http://twitter.com/MazenMahdi/status/46004071093633024 [13]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCWm4KPCecI [14]http://en.rsf.org/bahrain-news-photographers-among-crackdown-17-05-2011,40301.html [15]http://bahrainrights.hopto.org/ar/node/4149   [16]https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=321499&id=143818639019162 [18]http://www.flickr.com/people/alialkofiphoto/ [18]http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/23/bahrain-journalists-idUSLDE74M1Y820110523 http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/4c877cd2-8543-11e0-871e-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1NBsh685K [19]http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/middleeast/news/article_1640917.php/Bahrain-police-detain-dpa-reporter  
[20]http://byshr.org/?p=437  and http://byshr.org/?p=458  [22]http://www.alwasatnews.com/3078/news/read/526211/1.html [23]http://www.bahrainrights.org/en/node/3513 [24] Bahrain Constitution – Article 23

Bahrain Centre for human rights renovate its condemns against violence and counter-violence

Witnesses: security forces attacked a group of citizens in “Nuwaidrat” without any reasons; perhaps this was the entrance of the mysterious incident.

Bahrain Media Corporation used this incident to inflame sectarian and provoke hatred.

26 May 2011

Bahrain Centre for human rights received Bahrain News Agency (BNA) announcement with much regret. The official media said that on Tuesday, 17 May 2011, eleven men were injured. Nine security men were run over and two citizens injured, one of them was injured in the head, the incident took place in one of the Shiite villages. Also, the driver who was accused of running over had several injuries [1]. As stated in the news “security men were in on duty in Nuwaidrat dealing with a group of people trying to provoke riots and vandalism. One of the citizens was injured in his head, his brother immediately drove the car and ran over the security men intentionally, causing injury to a number of police men, four of them were seriously injured, and five with different injuries, while the driver had various injuries. All the injured were taken to the hospital". The first official version of the story seems to be about a reaction by someone as a result of wounding his brother in clashes with protesters. However, the official's scenario has changed later in some of the official newspapers and in Bahrain TV programs to accuse the driver of planning the run over operation [2]. Bahrain TV broadcasted the news at the same night, with pictures of the injured police men, but did not show any pictures of the citizen who was the reason of the alleged run over which ignited the spark of the incident nor pictures to his alleged injured brother in the incident ,according to the security source.

Some witnesses from the same village told Bahrain Center for Human Rights what happened. That is on Tuesday night, the night of the incident, group of young men about eight where sitting as usual near the football field, which is used by the village club. There were not any security clashes or acts of protest in the region that day. Suddenly, while they were sitting, a number of five to six police cars surrounded them and a group of riot police from different Arab and Asian nationalities dismounts from the cars, then started beating and insulting them - before asking them to disperse and return to their homes, which they did. Whereas they were leaving, the security forces came back again and arrest one of them: Abdul Shahid Ali Hassan al-Mal Allah, believing that he intended to walk slowly and not as hurry as they asked him. Once Abdul Shahid got arrested a number of security forces members severely beaten him and then thumped his head to the car door several times without any reason. After that, they took him to the main checkpoint located near the village's roundabout of Nuwaidrat entrance. At that time, Abbas Mal Allah brother of Abdul Shahid was returning home while some passing by told him what happened to his brother, immediately he went to the checkpoint to inquire about where his brother is and the reasons for his arrest, after that time no one saw him again. Later, some people who witness the assault went to the checkpoint to uncover Abdul Shahid fate and try to release him. When they arrived to the checkpoint, they saw the same troops brutally beating Abdul Shahid who was lying on ground bleeding and screaming, one of the security men pointed his gun at Abdel Shahid head, as if he intended to kill him or perhaps wants or suggests, another security man was trying to stop his colleagues from beating and dimensions the gun from Abdel Shahid's head. Meanwhile, another group of the security forces fired tear gas intensity in each direction in order to prevent passers-by from watching the beatings or photographed it.

Although the Centre could not ensure the credibility of the ran over alleged incident by the Authority or its details, due to the absence of direct witnesses from the village on account of the fear the security forces planted there, According to the authority first version and the villages witnesses the hidden part from the story is that perhaps one of the citizens ran over the security men after seeing them beating his brother and trying to kill him.

Bahrain Centre for human rights always repeats its previous calls [3] calling all parties to abide peace, respect principles and human rights on the basis of international conventions which Bahrain is a party, and invites all parties to avoid violence and counter-violence. Moreover, the Centre demands security, intelligence and military authorities to stop causing reasons that lead to violence and desire to revenge, by using excessive violence against protesters and citizens without justification and stop all the rigorous actions that degrades and humiliates, starting from beatings and insulting them at the checkpoints .Bahrain Center for Human Rights has warned the authorities from using violence since the security forces began to use it against peaceful protests, also warned them since the beginning of the peaceful protests in February [4] from using violence against peaceful protesters and provide them with freedom to exercise their legitimate right to protest peacefully and express their views in order to avoid worsen the situation. However, the authorities ignore these calls. The Centre observed and documented previous reports [5] about security forces involvement that made the situation worse, as an example , smashing citizens cars in many areas [6] which were parked near their houses, stealing some houses after raiding and arresting , not to mention sexual harassment and beating the residents of those houses although they are not wanted. Furthermore, attacking villages and flooding them with tears gas as a collective punishment, humiliating citizens, beating and torturing them at the checkpoints [7] as well as targeting people's beliefs and rituals through the demolition their mosques and religious facilities in Shiite villages, which could lead to increase the hatred towards the ruling regime, particularly those actions are committed by foreign forces brought by the authority to suppress the protests demanding freedom and democracy . As a result of the excessive violence used by these forces, more than thirty people were killed in the past few months, four of whom were tortured to death and thousands were wounded, in the time of using force and bullets against peaceful protesters, there was no need to use violence.

Usually, civilians who are security services victims do not get any margin of media coverage, but as terrorists. Just like this case, the media did not show any details about the causes of the incident, which is the bloody attack on the citizen that ignited the alleged incident. Regarding to this, official media contribute to duplicate the problem by incitement hatred and inflaming the domestic public opinion, rather than being neutral (see the detailed report on Bahrain TV role in inflaming Hatred). While Bahrain News Agency proclaimed Nuwaidrat incident as a reaction to an assault, Bahrain TV used the incident to inflame sectarian hatred. the next day , Bahrain TV broadcasted a program about the incident as it had occurred with premeditation, had been previously planned and supported from outside Bahrain, this, however, contradicts the previous statement and their version.[8]

Bahrain Centre for human rights could not confirm the authority's alleged incident as cannot disprove, especially since there are many precedents for statements from the security services about murders, and accusing people [9] but later on its discovered not true or neutrality (see Bahrain Centre report on acquittal those accused of attempted murder after confessing under torture). However, BCHR has always rejected the use of violence against people, including security personnel because it threatens the most important human right, the right to life. As well as, demanding the authorities and security forces to stop using excessive violence , raiding on villages and houses and beating its residents , steeling people’s money , stop insulting and attacking at the checkpoints and stop sectarian incitation programs, all these things drive people to hopelessness, frustration and perhaps cause them to counter violence.

Therefore, Bahrain Centre for human rights demands to:

1. Open an impartial investigation into Nuwaidrat incident including an independent party to reveal the circumstances to the public. 2. Clarify the fate of the first injured as well as the accused in the case, informing his family on his health condition and to enable his family to visit him. 3. Stop the violence and collective punishment practiced by the security forces and stop the siege on villages that dishonors the citizen’s dignity at the checkpoints. 4. Stop inflaming sectarian and exploitation issues and accidents by Bahrain TV for mongering, which adversely affect the coexistence and civil peace.

Scenes from the checkpoints:


[1]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7k5dp2-6vg [2]http://www.alayam.com/Articles.aspx?aid=82525 [3]http://www.bahrainrights.org/ar/node/3828 http://bahrainrights.hopto.org/ar/node/3826 http://www.bahrainrights.org/ar/node/3725 [4]http://www.bahrainrights.org/ar/node/3725 [5]http://www.bahrainrights.org/ar/node/3828 [6]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Csrj9yyQmQA&feature=related [7]http://www.alwasatnews.com/3125/news/read/534540/1.html http://www.alwasatnews.com/3118/news/read/533328/1.html http://www.alwasatnews.com/3120/news/read/533679/1.html http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcxVK8iZEOg [8]http://www.alwatannews.net/news.aspx?id=ZN+8aWnP1+DM+COEkV57sA== http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCpEiPV2A8s http://www.alayam.com/Articles.aspx?aid=82525 [9]Two Innocent Defendants Falsely Admit Under Torture The Attempted Murder of the Editor-in-Chief while he Denies their Offence!

Front Line: Bahrain: UPDATE - Violence, harassment and intimidation of human rights defenders

Left to right:Issa Al-Ghayeb, Abdulla Al-Derazi, Nabeel Rajab
31 May - 1 Jun 2011

Human right defenders in Bahrain are being subjected to ongoing violence, harassment and intimidation. The latest spade of attacks on human rights defenders in the country have included malicious interrogation by the office of the military prosecution of Mr Abdulla Al-Derazi, the Secretary General of Bahrain Human Rights Society (BHRS); the imposition of a travel ban on Mr 'Issa Al-Ghayeb, the Deputy Secretary General of BHRS, and lawyer Mr 'Issa Ibrahim, BHRS board member; and a dawn attack by tear gas on the house of Mr Nabeel Rajab, President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) and vice-president of FIDH (International Federation for Human Rights).

On 31 May 2011 Mr Nabeel Rajab, was summoned by the office of the military prosecutor to present himself at their offices at 6pm on the same day. He was interrogated for more than 5 hours before being released.

The interrogation was in connection with three charges: Disseminating abroad false and malicious news and statements about the internal situation of the country (Article 134 of the Penal Code of 1976); publicly inciting for the hatred of a sect of people and denigrating them (Article 172 of the Penal Code of 1976) and; broadcasting false and malicious news, statements and rumors (Article 168/A of the Penal Code of 1976. An additional charge of insuting the king of the country was apparently brought against Mr Rajab during the investigation. The interrogation focused on his television statement and interviews and on his writings on twitter. Mr Rajab has stated that he was treated courteously during and after the interrogation. However, it is not clear whether he will be referred to the military court for trial.

On 22 May 2011, Abdulla Al-Derazi was summoned by the office of the military prosecution and interrogated for two hours from 6pm to 8pm. The interrogation focused on Abdulla Al-Derazi's human rights work including communication with international media, participation in anti-government protests, spreading 'false information' about Bahrain, and absenting himself from work. Despite the denial of all the charges it is feared that Abdulla Al-Derazi may be referred to trial before a military court. On 17 April 2011, just over a month before his interrogation, he was suspended from his position as lecturer of English at Bahrain University. He was referred to a disciplinary committee which resolved to suspend him on charges related to his human rights work, including exercising his right to freedom of expression and assembly.

BHRS has been coming under sustained pressure since the trial in August 2010 of a number of human rights defenders on "terrorism" charges. On 8 September 2010, the Ministry of Social Development suspended the board of directors of BHRS under the provisions of the Societies Act No. 21 of 1989 accusing the board of administrative irregularities and appointing an administrator to run the BHRS for 8 months. Despite the expiry of the period of suspension on 8 May 2011, BHRS remains under the control of the Ministry of Social Development.

On 21 May 2011, the Bahraini security forces carried out an unprovoked dawn attack using tear gas on the family home of Nabeel Rajab while the whole family were asleep. The attack which came weeks after another attack involved shooting tear gas into the house through a window by means of a gun. Before firing, the attacking forces reportedly broke the window of the section housing Nabeel Rajab's brother and his family. As a result members of the family including women and children almost suffocated from inhalation of the gas thrown into a closed area. The attack was apparently meant as punishment against Nabeel Rajab to silence him by intimidating his family.

'Issa Al-Ghayeb was barred from travelling by the Bahrain passport authorities as he went to the airport on 26 May 2011 to travel to Kuwait to attend a conference on death penalty. 'Issa Ibrahim faced a similar ban about two weeks ago but the reasons are still unclear; it is believed the measure is related to his human rights work. Nabeel Rajab was again barred from travelling on 29 May 2011 as he was planning to travel to Beirut to attend an IFEX conference on freedom of expression. On a previous occasion he was returned from the airport while waiting to catch a plane to travel to France to attend a FIDH meeting.

Front Line believes that this campaign of violence, intimidation, harassment and travel ban on human rights defenders is being carried out by the authorities to force them to stop their peaceful and legitimate human rights work.

The continued violence, harassment and intimidation of Nabeel Rajab and Abdulla Al-Derazi, 'Issa Al-Ghayeb, 'Issa Ibrahim was the subject of a Front Line urgent appeal dated 31st May 2011 . Front Line calls on the authorities to immediately drop all charges against Nabeel Rajab as it is believed that they are motivated by his legitimate and peaceful work in defence of human rights.

1 Jun 2011 31 May 2011 appeal

Amnesty International: Bahrain set for renewed protests as state of emergency ends

31 May 2011 Amnesty International has urged the Bahrain authorities not to again use excessive force against protesters, as activists called for mass anti-government demonstrations across the country on Wednesday.

The call for demonstrations comes as a repressive state of emergency imposed following previous protests, the State of National Safety, is set to be lifted by Bahrain’s King on Wednesday.

"The Bahraini authorities must not make the same mistakes as in February and March, when largely peaceful protests were violently suppressed by government security forces," said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Director.

"As the state of emergency is lifted, the authorities must allow people to peacefully exercise their rights to freedom of expression and association, "he added.

The protesters are calling on the government to end human rights abuses, and have been instigated by the February 14 youth coalition, the group which called for the first protests earlier this year to demand political reform..

The Bahrain authorities say at least 24 people, including four police officers, have died in clashes between police and demonstrators since they began in February.

At least 500 protesters have been detained and four have died in custody in suspicious circumstances. At least two thousand people have also been dismissed or suspended from their jobs, apparently for participating in the protests.

In a separate development, the military trial of 14 prominent opposition activists is set to continue on Wednesday.

The mainly Shi’a activists have been charged with alleged crimes in relation to the pro-reform protests that began in February.

"These defendants are likely to be prisoners of conscience detained simply for exercising their right to peacefully express their political views in public. If so, they must be released immediately and unconditionally," Malcolm Smart said.

The State of National Safety set up a military court with exclusive jurisdiction to try those accused of offences under the state of emergency although they are all or mostly civilians.

This court will continue to operate even after the State of National Safety is lifted tomorrow. It has already sentenced four people to death, two of whose sentences were reduced to life imprisonment on appeal, and jailed others for participating in peaceful protests in March.

Amnesty International has repeatedly called on the government of Bahrain not to try civilians in military courts because they lack independence and fail to respect international standards of fair trial.


CIHRS: Situation in Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, Egypt & Tunisia in an OI at the HRC

Thirteen Arab Human Rights Organizations call on the UN to Hold a special session on Yemen and Bahrain

31 May 2011

In a statement read by the UN representative of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) at the 17th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, thirteen Arab human rights organizations called on the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary and Arbitrary Executions to urgently address the killings of pro-democracy protestors across the Arab region, calling for “a report specifically dedicated to this purpose, which would provide the international community with a preliminary analysis of the international legal implications of any alleged extrajudicial killings in these particular situations.”

The statement was endorsed by the CIHRS , the Tunisian League for the Defense of Human Rights, the Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies (Syria), the Sisters’ Arab Forum for Human Rights (Yemen), the Hewar Foundation for Democratic Development (Yemen), the Yemeni Organization for Human and Democratic Rights, the Social and Democratic Forum (Yemen), the Hood Organization for Human Rights (Yemen), the National Organization for Human Rights (Yemen), the Yemeni Center for Civil Rights, the Yemeni Center for Human Rights, the Yemeni Center for Human Rights Studies and the Yemeni Center for Journalists’ Training.

The statement denounced the current crackdown on protesters in al-Hureya square in Taiz, which has killed more than 50 protestors, as well as the ongoing crackdown on pro-democracy activists in Syria, which has led to the killing of between 1000 and 1200 protestors. The statement called on the Human Rights Council to recommend that the UN Security Council refer the situation in both Yemen and Syria to the International Criminal Court to investigate crimes that maybe tantamount to crimes against humanity.

The 13 NGOs further denounced the unrelenting state sanctioned campaign of repression by Bahrain authorities against any and all citizens who participated in or supported protests and calls for democratic reform as well as the killing of 31 pro-democracy actors in Bahrain which has thus far been carried out with impunity. The Statement highlighted the double standards of the Council when dealing with the situations in Bahrain and Yemen, ascompared to its timely reaction to the situations in Syrian and Libya.

Finally the statement called on various UN HRC experts to urgently request a joint visit to Egypt and Tunisia “in order to advice transitional authorities on the proper legal framework, international standards and good practices that must be used to ensure a fair and transparent transitional justice process; processes which have thus far greatly deviated from international standards”.

Peaceful resistance has a history of turning violent if its goals are wholly ignored and its repression aided by the unwillingness of the international community to act.. The Human Rights Council has a pivotal role to play in ensuring this does not happen. Its members must act now.