ADHRB and BIRD and salam DHR would like thank the Mandates on Free Assembly and Association, and on Summary Executions, which address the Council last week under Item 3. With regard to the work of those mandates, we wish to raise the use of excessive and deadly force to attack peaceful protests, and suppress dissent in the Bahraini village of Diraz.
On 23 May, Bahraini police raided an 11-month-long peaceful sit-in in Diraz. Authorities attacked the sit-in with tear gas and shotguns, firing into the crowd and killing at least five demonstrators. As many as 286 were arbitrary arrested, a number of whom remain forcibly disappeared. The government has also cut off access to the village, continuing a blockade that had excessively restricted the free movement of Diraz residents, business owners and visitors prior to the raid.
A week later, on 31 May 2017, the authorities dissolved Wa’ad, the country’s last major opposition group after Al-Wefaq, the largest political society, was dissolved last year.
Together, these measures signal that any form of opposition, formal or informal will be met with complete suppression, including using lethal violence. The government’s attack on free movement, assembly, and association is in clear violation of Articles 13 and 20 of the UDHR and Articles 12, 21, and 22 of the ICCPR.
We therefore call on these mandates, as well as this Council, to condemn all attacks on freedoms of assembly and movement in Diraz and to address the intensifying human rights crisis in Bahrain.