Bahrain Freedom Movement Statements

Khalifis refuse entry to UN Experts, F1 race exposes Saudi HR crimes

New requests by UN human rights experts to visit Bahrain has embarrassed both the government and the Human Rights Council who have been negotiating an agreement on cooperation. At least three have asked to visit Bahrain: the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial summary or arbitrary executions, the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order and the Special Rapporteur on Torture. These requests were submitted in October and November of this year. The regime has persistently refused entry to UN Experts fearing they would expose the khalifi crimes committed against the Bahrainis in the past decade.

Meanwhile Dr Abdul Jalil Al Singace has entered his sixth month on hunger strike at an isolated health centre in Manama. His health condition continues to deteriorate. Other hunger strikers include Mohammad Jum’a Al Khor who is protesting his lack of rights after the prison management declined to improve his conditions or grant him suitable medical care. Andy Slaughter, MP has presented questions to the British Government in relations to Dr Al Singace; whether the FCDO is closely following his case, whether they are asking the khalifis to allow him family contacts and whether they will give him back his literary book that he had spent four years to write.

Solidarity with Bahraini hunger strikers is widening, In London Ali Mushaima has been visited by several MPs and activists outside the Bahraini Embassy where he had staged his hunger strike for the past two weeks. Among them were three Members of Parliament; Martyn Day, Navendu Mishra and Paula Parker. Martyn Day MP. tweeted: I stand in solidarity with @AMushaima, who is on hunger strike outside the Bahraini Embassy in London to demand the release of Dr. Abduljalil Al-Singace and his father, Hassan Mushaima. Paula Barker MP tweeted: This morning, along with my colleague @NavPMishra we visited Ali Mushaima whose is on the 13th day of hunger strike outside the Bahrain embassy to highlight the plight of his father Hasan Mushaima & Dr AlSingace.

Last week Le Monde published a detailed article titled: Bahrain unreformed by Marc Pellas. It said: Bahrainis were promised democracy in 2001. But the authoritarian rule of the Al-Khalifas continued and got even harsher after the 2011 protests. With the economy in deep trouble, the legitimacy of the monarchy is now in question. It went on to say: The ruling Al-Khalifa family… have crushed all attempts by the mainly Shia population to take part in political life, much like their neighbours Saudi Arabia and the UAE (United Arab Emirates), both (in different ways) unwaveringly absolute monarchies. The judicial system is tightly controlled; free speech and political activity, once tolerated, are now criminalised, political opponents stripped of their citizenship and civil rights, dissident voices on social media hunted down, and human rights activists systematically targeted. The state hacks citizens’ devices and invites international tenders for huge quantities of tear gas rounds and stun grenades.

On 2nd December activist groups called on the U.N. General Assembly to create a new panel of independent experts to collect and preserve evidence of possible war crimes by all sides in Yemen’s bitter conflict for future prosecution Bahrain, Russia and other members of the U.N. Human Rights Council pushed through a vote in October to shut down its war crimes investigations in Yemen. Some 60 groups, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, have called in a joint statement for a fresh investigation and accused Saudia Arabia and the United Arab Emirates of an “aggressive lobbying campaign” to quash that Geneva-based expert panel set up four years ago. The Saudis had bought the votes of other member countries to defeat the EU-sponsored proposal to extend the work of the investigation commission. According to The Guardian on 1st December: Saudi Arabia used “incentives and threats” as part of a lobbying campaign to shut down a UN investigation of human right violations committed by all sides in the Yemen conflict, according to sources with close knowledge of the matter.

There has been stiff opposition to holding the F1 race in Saudi Arabia, as is the case with Bahrain. A Saudi woman activist, Areej Al Sadhan, whose brother had been detained by the Saudi regime tweeted: “The track is just few miles away from one of Saudi Arabia’s notorious political prisons, Dhahban. It was here that Musa al-Qarni, a campaigner for reform, was murdered in October, with injuries to his skull. His death highlighted the horrific abuse..” F1 champion, Lewis Hamilton said: “Do I feel comfortable here? I wouldn’t say I do,” he said. “But it’s not my choice to be here. The sport has taken the choice to be here. “And whether it’s right or wrong, I think whilst we are here I feel like it’s important that we do try to raise awareness.”

The Saudi human rights body, ALQST said that Saud al-Sarhan, the well-respected academic and former secretary-general of the King Faisal Centre for Research and Islamic Studies, has been forcibly disappeared by the Saudi authorities since late October. Al-Sarhan obtained his PhD in 2011 from Exeter University in the United Kingdom, where he is now an honorary senior research fellow. Between 2016 and May 2021 he was Secretary-General of the King Faisal Centre for Research and Islamic Studies in Riyadh. His publications include “The reconstruction of Yemen: Political, economic and social challenges” and “The Saudis and management of the hajj”.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

8th December 2021

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