In a joint statement, 130 human rights organizations exposed the reality of repression and persecution in Bahrain and the arbitrary arrests and exclusion practised by the Al-Khalifa regime.
These organizations issued their statement in light of the visit of Pope Francis to Bahrain from 3-6 November 2022.
The organizations said that they hope Pope Francis will adopt an initiative to urge the Bahraini authorities to end human rights violations and a real shift towards transitional justice, fairness and reparation for all victims, and the release of all prisoners of conscience, including human rights defenders and opposition leaders.
According to the statement, human rights organizations have monitored the imprisonment of opposition leaders, prisoners of conscience and religious scholars who have always expressed their belief in human rights, freedom, equality, religious tolerance and coexistence in Bahrain’s prisons.
Because of their demand for a state of social justice, equal citizenship, human dignity and political pluralism, they were subjected to arbitrary detention, torture, ill-treatment and lengthy prison sentences. Some of them were executed, and their citizenship was revoked.
Human rights and civil organizations expressed their deep concern over the policy of suppressing public freedoms pursued by the successive governments of the State of Bahrain for more than ten years.
This includes various violations, including arbitrary arrests, which amounted to more than 20 thousand cases during eleven years, torture (with more than 6000 victims), and extrajudicial killings (more than 200 cases).
Hundreds of victims were also subjected to enforced disappearance, unfair trials, religious persecution, travel bans, revocation of citizenship (more than a thousand cases), and political death sentences (12 currently, five have been executed).
Naturalization is contrary to the law, deprivation of civil and political rights, demolition of 38 mosques, and dissolution of opposition political societies Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, National Democratic Action Society (Waad), and Islamic Action Society (Amal).
The organizations emphasized that Bahrain is suffering from wide human rights and political crisis, an explicit evasion of the implementation of international obligations related to the universal periodic review, and a violation of the rights of citizens of various political, social and religious backgrounds, not to mention the finishing off on the freedom of political action.
Human rights organizations urged the Pope to adopt an initiative that pressures the Bahraini authorities to release all prisoners of conscience, numbering nearly thousand five hundred.
The organizations also urged all participants in the conference to visit prisoners of conscience, led by human rights defenders and opposition leaders, and to raise the human rights situation while they are in Bahrain with the official authorities.