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Bahrain: on the brink of human rights crisis

Written statement submitted by Amnesty International, a non-governmental organization in special consultative status

Resumption of executions

Amnesty International is alarmed by the resumption of executions in Bahrain after a nearly seven-year hiatus, and condemns the execution of Ali Abdulshaheed al-Sankis, Sami Mirza Mshaima and Abbas Jamil Taher on 15 January 2017. They were sentenced to death after an unfair trial in relation to the killing of three policemen.

Mohamed Ramadhan Issa Ali Hussain and Hussain Ali Moosa Hussain Mohamed are now at imminent risk of execution; both were sentenced to death after an unfair trial in relation to the killing of a policeman.

Excessive use of force and clampdown on peaceful assembly

The 15 January executions sparked protests in over 20 villages across Bahrain, with hundreds of people taking part. While some of the protests have been peaceful, others have been violent.

Amnesty International is concerned about the Bahraini authorities’ use of excessive force in response to these protests. Security forces have used tear gas and shotguns firing birdshot against protesters and, in some cases, less-lethal riot control ammunition and live ammunition. Scores of protesters have been injured and many have been arrested. 

Read the full statement here

HRC34: Denmark directs Human Rights Council’s attention to human rights situation in Syria, Bahrain, OPT/Israel, Egypt, Iran, South Sudan, Myanmar, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Eastern Ukraine & illegally annexed Crimea

UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
34th Session
Item 4: General Debate
Statement by Denmark

Thank you, Mr. President
Denmark fully aligns itself with the EU statement.
We are deeply concerned with the immense suffering of the Syrian people. We strongly condemn the Syrian regime’s continuous violations of international humanitarian and human rights law for which it must be held accountable

Continued settlement expansion and the human rights implications of demolitions and confiscations remain at odds with Israel’s international obligations, including UN Security Council Resolutions.
We reiterate our call for the release of all arbitrarily detained persons in Bahrain, including the Danish-Bahraini citizen Mr. Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja; A victim of torture who needs treatment and rehabilitation. 
We reiterate our encouragement to Egypt to take further steps to ensure the respect for fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution, including providing for an enabling environment for CSOs.
We remain concerned with the ongoing human rights violations in Iran. The high number of executions, including of juvenile offenders and the use of physical punishment in Iran, is alarming.
The man-made catastrophe in South Sudan is of utmost concern to us. Lack of humanitarian access, grave human rights violation and war atrocities committed by government and other warring forces must come to an end. 
While strongly supporting the democratic transition in Myanmar, we are deeply concerned about the serious human rights violations allegedly carried out by the security forces.
We continue to urge the government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to take immediate steps to halt all human rights violations in the country.
Denmark remains deeply concerned by the deteriorating human rights situation in the eastern Ukraine and in the illegally annexed Crimea. Human rights actors and monitors should be granted free access and humanitarian access ensured.

Thank you

Access the statement here

A challenge to Bahrain's rulers from an ex-MP: Let's talk

It’s been six years since Bahrain’s crown prince set out a vision of reform. The country was three weeks into mass protests, as the Arab Spring inspired thousands of ordinary Bahrainis to take to the streets to demand a political system based on inclusion rather than marginalisation. It was a brief glimpse into a possibility of a modern, liberal constitutional monarchy, the first of its kind in the Gulf.

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Bahrain's top Shi'ite Muslim cleric trial postponed till May

A Bahraini court on Tuesday delayed a ruling in the trial of the spiritual leader of the country's Shi'ite Muslim majority on charges of collecting funds illegally and money laundering, local media reported.

Ayatollah Isa Qassim, who is in his mid-70s, faces up to 15 years in jail if convicted in the trial that has ratcheted up tensions in the Western-allied Gulf Arab state where the U.S. Fifth Fleet is based.

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Human Rights Council should take action on Bahrain, the Philippines, and Turkey

Human Rights Watch is deeply concerned about the many serious human rights situations on which this Council has failed to take any meaningful action:

The situation in Bahrain deteriorated further in the latter half of 2016. The government has intensified its attacks on rights to freedom of expression, assembly, and association, including dissolution of the country’s main opposition group, Al-Wifaq, arbitrary stripping of citizenship from Bahrainis who have been critical of the government, and subjecting civil society actors to arbitrary travel bans. Authorities also made little progress in holding officials accountable for the mistreatment and torture of detainees. Emboldened by the silence of the international community, during this session of the Council alone the Bahraini authorities once again postponed the trial of human rights defender Nabeel Rajab, who remains in jail and faces charges that violate his right to free speech, and the Shura council approved an amendment to the constitution that will allow for civilians to be tried in military courts. The Council should immediately take collective action to address the worsening situation in Bahrain.

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Saudi Arms Deal Would Fan Flames of Conflict

Amnesty International this week urged President Trump not to approve impending arms sales to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. The deals would arm members of a military coalition that has attacked thousands of civilians in Yemen and violated international humanitarian law. Amnesty International researchers have already found both unexploded U.S. bombs and identifiable fragments of exploded U.S. bombs among the ruins of Yemeni homes and other civilian objects.

Letter to President Donald Trump

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Trump is letting human rights deteriorate, and Bahrain is Exhibit A

IF THERE is an Exhibit A for how the ascent of the Trump administration is leading to the deterioration of human rights in other countries, it is Bahrain — an island kingdom in the Persian Gulf that is the host of the U.S. 5th Fleet. Since 2011, when its majority-Shiite population revolted during the Arab Spring, the Sunni monarchy has engaged in serial campaigns of repression, interspersed with gestures at liberalization aimed at appeasing the United States.

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Bahrain: Nabeel Rajab trial postponed until 16 April

The trial of jailed Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab on charges of spreading “rumours and false news” was deferred for a second time on 7 March until 16 April. The charges relate to televised interviews in 2014 and 2015 in which he criticised authorities. In the meantime, he remains in detention after being denied bail.

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Bahraini doctor freed after jail sentence on charges linked to 2011 uprising

A prominent Bahraini doctor jailed for five years in connection with the 2011 Arab Spring uprising for democracy was released from prison on Friday, a lawyer and witness said.

Ali al-Ekry was among 20 medics, all Shi'ite Muslims, who were sentenced in September 2011 to prison terms ranging from five to 15 years on charges including occupying a hospital, theft of medical equipment and incitement to topple the state.

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Why The Gulf States And Jordan Are Carrying Out Mass Executions

It’s been a busy year for executioners—at least in the Middle East. On January 15, the kingdom of Bahrain shot and killed three men in its first executions since 2010. Ten days later, Kuwait led seven men to the gallows in its first state-sanctioned killings since 2013. Then, on March 4, Jordan hung 15 men at dawn, the largest single-day execution since the country brought back the death penalty in December 2014.

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