New information
BHR 001 / 0417 / OBS 047.1
Restrictions to freedom of movement /
Harassment
Bahrain
November 29, 2017
 
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Bahrain.
 
New information:
 
The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about ongoing obstacles to freedom of movement faced by Ms. Nedal Al Salman, Acting President and Head of Women and Children Rights at the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR).
 
According to the information received, on November 26, 2017 at 2 pm, Ms. Al Salman intended to board a flight to Toronto via Dubai at Manama International Airport. After she was successfully checked-in, she was stopped at the emigration desk, her passport was seized by a policeman, and she was told to wait.
 
After one hour, the policeman came back to Ms. Al Salman to inform her that she “[could] not travel as [she was] under travel ban”. When asking the reasons for such a ban, the policeman answered that he had no idea, and that she “should check with the Public Prosecution Office”.
 
This travel ban will prevent Ms. Nedal Al Salman from attending the European Union (EU)-NGO Forum on Human Rights on December 5 and 6, 2017 in Brussels, where she had been invited by the EU.
 
Ms. Nedal Al Salman has already been banned from travelling several times since August 29, 2016, and most recently in April and June 2017, ahead of sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UN HRC) in Geneva (see background information).
 
On September 19, 2017, she was summoned and charged by the Public Prosecution for “illegal gatherings” under trumped-up charges stemming from the new Anti-Terrorism Law, and placed under a formal travel ban.
 
The Observatory strongly condemns the ongoing travel restrictions imposed on Ms. Al Salman, which is further evidence of constant reprisals conducted by the authorities against human rights defenders in Bahrain.
 
The Observatory recalls that more than 20 human rights defenders have been prevented to leave the country earlier this year, as a clear attempt to sanction their human rights activities (see background information).
 
The Observatory urges the authorities to immediately and unconditionally lift the travel ban against Ms. Al Salman and other human rights defenders in Bahrain, and to put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against them.
 
Background information:
 
In April 2017, a new wave of summons and travel bans targeted at least 18 human rights defenders, including members of the BCHR, the Bahrain Human Rights Observatory (BHRO), the Bahrain Human Rights Society (BHRS), the European-Bahraini Organisation for Human Rights (EBOHR) and Salam for Democracy and Human Rights (Salam), as well as four political activists.
 
Between April 20, 2017 and April 26, 2017, 22 human rights activists, including four BCHR members, Mr. Enas Oun, Mr. Ahmed Al Saffar, Mr. Hussain Radhi and Ms. Nedal Al Salman, as well as BHRO member Ms. Jalila Al Salman, along with BHRS member Ms.Zainab Al Khamees, EBOHR member Ms.Fatima Al Halwachi,Salam member Ms. Ebtisam Al Sayegh, human rights lawyer Mr. Mohamed Al Tajer, journalists Ms.Faisal Hayat and Mr. Ahmed Radhi, Ms. Zainad Mohamed, Ms. Riyhanna Mosawi, Mr. Talal Salawi, Mr. Monther Al Khoor, Mr. Sayed Hadi Al Moosawi, doctors Mr.Taha Al Derazi and Ms. Rulla Al Saffar[1] and four members of the political society Waad were all summoned to appear before the Public Prosecutor for interrogation.
 
The 22 individuals were all accused of supposedly participating in “illegal gatherings” in the city of Deraz on January 6 and 14, 2017. Yet, none of the 22 participated in such alleged gatherings. Travel bans have been issued against the 22 individuals. The Observatory fears that the travel bans were preventively issued against the 22 individuals to prevent them from attending Bahrain’s Universal Periodic Review to be held in Geneva from May 1 to May 5, 2017 before the UN HRC.
 
Actions requested:
 
Please write to the authorities in Bahrain, urging them to:
 
i. Guarantee in all circumstances the freedom of movement of Ms. Nedal Al Salman and all human rights defenders in Bahrain, by immediately and unconditionally lifting the travel bans against them, as they only aim at sanctioning their legitimate human rights activities;
 
ii. Put an end to all forms of harassment against Ms. Nedal Al Salman and all human rights defenders in Bahrain, so that they are able to carry out their work without hindrance;
 
iii. Comply with all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, in particular with its Articles 1, 5(b), and 12.2;
 
iv. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Bahrain.
Addresses:
 
• Cheikh Hamad bin Issa AL KHALIFA, King of Bahrain, Fax: +973 176 64 587
• Cheikh Khaled Bin Ahmad AL KHALIFA, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Fax : 00973 17 21 05 75; ofd@mofa.gov.bh
• Cheikh Khalid bin Ali AL KHALIFA, Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs, Fax: +973 175 31 284
• Lt. Gen. Cheikh Rashed bin Abdulla AL KHALIFA, Minister of Interior, Email: info@interior.gov.bh
• H.E. Mr. Yusuf Abdulkarim Bucheeri, Permanent Mission of Bahrain to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Fax: + 41 22 758 96 50. Email: info@bahrain-mission.ch
• H.E. Ahmed Mohammed Yousif Aldoseri, Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain to the Kingdom of Belgium, Fax: 0032 (0) 26472274; E-mail: Brussels.mission@mofa.gov.bh
• H.E. Muhammad Abdul Ghaffar, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Bahrain in Paris, France. Email: ambassade@ambahrein-france.com
 
Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of Bahrain in your respective country.
 
***
 
Paris-Geneva, November 29, 2017
 
Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
 
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and OMCT. The objective of this programme is to intervene to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.
 
To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
·         E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
·         Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
·         Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29
 
[1]               Ms. Rulla Al Saffar is the former President of the Bahrain Nurses Society.