Letters dispatched to UN Human Rights Council Country Delegates Calling on Them to Raise Bahrain’s Issues in Upcoming UPR Consideration

A letter was drafted and dispatched to all country missions in Geneva which contained within it a joint collaborative report on Bahrain’s third Universal Periodic Review (UPR) that took place in May 2017.

The joint report attached in the letter elaborating on Bahrain’s UPR was drafted by SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights, Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights, Bahrain Forum for Human Rights, The European-Bahraini Organisation for Human Rights, and Bahrain Center for Human Rights.

The report expounded on Bahrain’s noncompliance with previous UPR recommendations, as well as recent regressions immediately after the adoption of the third UPR report in May 2017, such as the Duraz siege, nationality revocation trend, travel bans on human rights defenders, severe treatment of political detainees, and arrest and assault of prominent activists.

The letter concluded with a number of recommendations, encouraging country delegates to raise these concerns during Bahrain’s UPR consideration on 21 September 2017 under item 6. The recommendations outlined include:

• The immediate release of all imprisoned human rights defenders, including Ebtisam Alsaegh, Mohammed Khalil, Radha Al-Qatari, Nabeel Rajab and all prisoners of conscience, and to lift travel bans.
• To begin a nationwide campaign of national reconciliation, comprising the release of the breadth of the opposition. With the breadth of opposition leaders behind bars, no proper dialogue or reconciliation will commence, and as such, instability and potential for further human rights abuses will escalate.
• To withdraw the military presence in Duraz which has resulted in numerous human rights abuses, and to lift restrictions on freedom of movement imposed on the population of Duraz.
• To lift the ban on political societies, particularly the largest opposition group Al-Wefaq party, which has been forcibly closed, had its assets confiscated, and prevented from participating in the political sphere.
• To respect Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in that Bahraini citizens must be allowed to peacefully gather.

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