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The Bahraini regime refuses UN experts’ visit to prisons

The Bahraini regime refused to allow three UN experts to visit its prisons to closely examine the human rights conditions of prisoners of conscience and opponents and make recommendations.

Al-Wefaq Islamic National Society called on the Bahraini regime to immediately respond to the request of experts at the United Nations to visit Bahrain.

Al-Wefaq said in a press statement that the authorities’ behaviour in evading international monitoring mechanisms would preserve the deterioration of the human rights situation.

The Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, the Independent Expert on Promoting a Democratic and Fair International Order, and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel or Inhuman Treatment or Punishment submitted a request to visit Bahrain on different dates during the past few months.

Al-Wefaq highlighted that this is the first time that the independent expert on promoting a democratic and equitable international order has submitted a request to visit Bahrain, whose mandate aims to support the establishment of an international order based on the principles established in the Charter of the United Nations.

This includes promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all and respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, peace, democracy, justice, equality, the rule of law, pluralism, development and better standards of living and solidarity by resolution 6/18 adopted by the Human Rights Council.

This comes as three human rights organizations said that Bahrain did not stop discriminating against religious freedoms against Shiite citizens and continued to persecute them, in a report that “monitors the Ashura violations quarterly for the year 2021.”

The Bahrain Forum for Human Rights, Salam and the Gulf Institute for Democracy said in a joint statement that Bahraini Prime Minister Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa has not yet introduced reforms on religious discrimination against these citizens.

The organizations pointed out that the security apparatus continued to suppress religious freedoms through arrest procedures, fines, and forcing citizens to limit religious practices. The security services continued to raid participants in mourning processions and disperse them by force in some areas. The media was used to mislead the truth.

According to the report, arbitrary arrests during the Ashura season reached 3 detainees. They were arrested after being summoned to police stations for investigation, and then all were released.

According to the report, the number of summons reached 18 cases, including religious scholars and religious singers, to police stations for interrogation on charges related to reviving Ashura rituals.

Through the documentation processes, the organizations confirmed that the investigation sessions were not based on a crime or complaints but were based on allegations that fall within acts of harassment and intimidation and to limit religious freedom.

The organizations pointed out that the number of violations by the security services during the Ashura season amounted to 42 cases.

The organizations said that the harassment of detainees in Bahraini prisons, as independent human rights organizations monitored the denial of detainees by the Jaw Central Prison administration from practising religious rites during the Ashura season.

The report also noted that the pro-government Bahraini newspapers did not impartially cover the events, as they did not mention repression and published articles praising the government’s actions.

The organizations called on the Bahraini authorities to stop targeting and sectarian discrimination and not restrict the practice of religious and Husseini rites for Shiite citizens.

It also called on the Bahraini authorities not to interfere in funerals and Hussainiyat to guarantee freedom of practice within the framework of public order.

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