The Absent Rights & Justice

Wednesday, June 20th 2018

On June 20th, 2018, Khiam Center for Rehabilitation for Victims of Torture assembled a varied and respect panel of speakers at the United Nations Office in Geneva to discuss the ongoing repression of human rights in Bahrain in an event titled “The Absent Rights & Justice”. On the panel spoke Jawad Fairooz, chairman of SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights, Nabhan Al Hanshi from the Omani Centre for Human Rights and UK-based lawyer Azhar Iqbal. All panelists engaged in an open and active discussion moderated by Mohamed Safa from the Khiam Center. Alongside these contributions, a short film from SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights on repression and arbitrary detention in Bahrain was also played to the audience.

First, Azhar Iqbal drew on his experience as a lawyer to condemn the use of the death penalty, which, despite significant pressure from theUN, was still part of the Bahraini legal system. He reminded the audience that this practice was contrary to international agreements and declarations such as the ICCPR and the UDHR. Strongly criticizing the ongoing militarization of the Bahraini judicial system, he then urged the international community to pressurethe kingdom to make it independent and impartial.

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Next speaker on the panel, SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights’ chairman Jawad Fairooz mentioned the cases ofNabeel Rajab and of Sheikh Ali Salman, whose illegal detention and sentencing stood as a clear example of the lack of transparency and democracy inBahrain. He strongly condemned the use of family reprisals by the Bahraini authorities and their refusal to issueidentity papers to Sarah, daughter of Sheikh Ali Salman. Noting efforts made by the international community to improve the human rights situation in the Kingdom, Mr. Fairooz congratulated NGOs advocating for the cause and thanked ZeidRa’ad Al Hussain, UN High Commissionerfor Human Rights, for his special mention ofBahrainin his opening statement at the 38th Human Rights Council. Finally, he concluded his remarks by calling for the immediate release of arbitrarily detained prisoners, the end of family reprisals as well as the reestablishment of freedom of expression and of assembly inBahrain.

Turning to the topic of deprivation of nationality and statelessness, Nabhan Al Hanshi fromthe Omani Centre for Human Rights strongly condemned the normalization of citizenship revocation inGCCcountries such asOmanandBahrain, highlighting that this practice deprived people of their most fundamental rights. Similarly to previous speakers, he once more urgedBahrainto stick to international laws and covenants and encouraged the international community to exert more pressure on the Kingdom to be held accountable for its abusive practices.

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