“Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do”, Mandela once said. He has fought for social justice for 67 years, and has cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all individuals live together in harmony and with equal opportunities.

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) is issuing a statement on the occasion of “Nelson Mandela International Day” which is celebrated every year on the 18th of July. Nelson Mandela International Day has enjoyed 10 years of global support and solidarity since it was launched in 2009. This day is a perfect opportunity to mark the importance of the call for improving the conditions of prisoners and detainees in Bahrain according to the Nelson Mandela Rules which include all aspects of a dignified life. On the same occasion last year, BCHR released a report about prisoner conditions in Bahraini prisons.

The conditions in Bahraini prisons have been deteriorating; prisoners are housed in reform institutions that do not meet the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and provide a fertile environment for torture and ill-treatment to extract confessions.

Human rights reports confirm that Bahraini prisons widely apply the “policy” of denial of treatment in a context of systematic revenge. This has led to the deterioration of the health conditions of prisoners and death cases inside prisons, using widespread physical and psychological torture and denial of basic rights.

Based on this, BCHR calls upon the Bahraini authorities and the International Community concerned with prisoner conditions to:

  • Immediately and unconditionally release all persons detained or convicted on charges related to their fundamental human rights, including their freedoms of expression and assembly;
  • Ensure that prison authorities conform to Rules 27, 31, 36, 47 and all other rules as stipulated in the Nelson Mandela Rules;
  • Allow the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture into the country to conduct an independent investigation in relations to prison conditions and the use of torture in detention facilities;
  • Ensure the independence and well-functioning of the Prisoners and Detainees Rights Commission (PDRC), the Ombudsman, the National Institute for Human Rights, and the Special Investigations Unit so that they can take the necessary steps to investigate and prosecute all individuals and groups found guilty of mistreating or ailing in the mistreatment of detained individuals