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Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly Expresses Willingness to Visit Bahrain & Requests Info on 30 Violation Cases

2015-10-02 - 9:36 p

Bahrain Mirror: The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, Maina Kiai, said that he addressed Bahrain requesting information regarding 30 cases of violations of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association that relate to his mandate.

The special rapporteur in his report reminded the Government of Bahrain of his willingness to undertake a country visit to Bahrain, as indicated by his last letters of 2 September 2011 and 30 October 2013. He trusts that such a visit would allow him to examine first-hand issues relating to his mandate, identify good practices and formulate pertinent recommendations to relevant stakeholders. He looks forward to receiving a positive reply at the earliest possible opportunity.

The number of cases raised with Bahrain by the Special Rapporteur between May 1, 2011, and February 28, 2015 reached six, regarding the use of violence, enactment of travel bans against a number of human rights defenders, restricting religious freedom and right to assemble, worship and practice, arbitrary detention and ill-treatment, arrests, detention, harassment and stigmatisation against human rights defenders and their relatives, excessive use of force during peaceful demonstrations and targeted measures against a number of human rights activists.

Whereas eight appeals and allegation letters were raised between March 16, 2012 and February 28, 2013 over repeated restrictions on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly, arbitrary detention and excessive use of force during demonstrations, arrest and detention of four peaceful demonstrators, and charges brought against them, sentencing of human rights defender, surveillance, threats, harassment and acts of reprisal against human rights defenders, banning of all public rallies and gatherings in Bahrain and the arrest and detention of two human rights defenders, and excessive use of force during protests, resulting in the death of two children.

The Special Rapporteur raised nine cases in his third report between March 1, 2013 and February 28, 2014, regarding newly adopted law on Associations, Social and Cultural Clubs, Private Youth and Sports Organizations and Private Foundations that violates international norms and standards relating to the right to freedom of association, arbitrary detention and torture of a human rights defender and denial of legal representation, incommunicado detention of human rights defender, and irregularities in the trials of human rights defenders, alleged acts of reprisals for co-operation with the United Nations and reported torture.

The report also listed restrictions of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly following 22 recommendations to amend the anti-terrorism Law no. 58 of 2006, arbitrary detention and torture of two human rights defenders, inadequate investigations of torture whilst in detention and of lack of access to legal representation, arbitrary detention, torture and ill-treatment of two peaceful protestors, and arbitrary detention and torture of a photographer and journalist.

The fourth and last report raised by the special rapporteur between March 1, 2014 and February 28, 2015 included seven appeals regarding arbitrary arrest, detention and prosecution of the Secretary General of the main opposition political party in Bahrain, Sheikh Ali Salman, sentencing of three women human rights defenders, arbitrary arrest and detention of a human rights defender, arbitrary arrest, detention, and torture of nine Bahraini nationals, including two minors, enforced disappearance of some of them, and convictions after trials that did not respect international standards of fair trial and due process of five of them and harassment and intimidation of members of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights and the ongoing detention of one of its members.

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