10 December celebrates the International Human Rights day. For such occasion, the European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR) would like to denounce the critical human rights situation in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, particularly in Bahrain.
On 14 February 2011, Bahrainis took the streets to peacefully protests for a pro-democratic change in the regime and for the full observance and respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms. These protests were severely and violently quashed by the Bahraini authorities, and as a results the vast majority of leading civil society actors, human rights defenders and political activists were detained, subject to ill-treatment and imprisoned; along with hundreds of Bahraini citizens, including journalists, medics and even minors.
Unfortunately, and despite international calls on the Bahraini government to put an end to human rights abuses, the situation has effectively worsened in the country. Currently, all members of the “Bahrain 13” (a group of leading civil, human rights and peaceful political activists) are behind bars, effectively repressing civil society and freedom of speech and association in Bahrain. Further, Nabeel Rajab, a key human rights defender, is currently under a travel ban and faces up to ten years in prison, on criminal charges solely related to his freedom of expression.
Dissenting and voicing concerns over human rights abuses is largely repressed in Bahrain by governmental authorities, be it via arbitrary arrests and prison sentences, unfair trials, ill-treatment and torture or revocations of nationality.
The European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR) calls on the government of Bahrain to unconditionally implement the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry’s (BICI) recommendations of 2011, as well as fully comply with international law, especially regarding freedom of expression, association, belief, thought and human rights.