UN Committee Sent Letter to Bahrain Demanding to Lift Travel Ban Imposed on Nidal Al-Salman and Other HR Defenders

2018-08-15 - 8:37 م

Bahrain Mirror: A United Nations committee sent a letter to the government of Bahrain in which it demanded to lift restrictions imposed on activist Nidal Al-Salman, including travel ban.

The committee demanded Bahrain to reconsider the travel ban imposed on number of human rights defenders, including Nidal Al-Salman, in an act of reprisal for their cooperation with the United Nations.

It also indicated that Al-Salman was prevented several times from leaving Bahrain. The last time she was denied leaving the country was when she was prevented from participating in the 19th EUNGO Human Rights Forum which took place in Brussels in December 2017.

The travel ban imposed on Al-Salman is regretfully not an isolated example of similar allegations communicated to us through various information sources. In April 2017, a new wave of travel bans allegedly targeted at least 22 Bahraini human rights defenders, including members of prominent human rights organizations. These travel bans, inter alia, prevented some of them from attending Bahrain's Universal Periodic Review which was held in Geneva in May 2017.

The committee said that the travel bans are repeatedly being used in what appears to be a politically motivated strategy to prevent human rights defenders from travelling abroad and participating in international events related to human rights, including those organized by the United Nations.

It reiterated its concerns about the broader effect of the increased and repeated imposition of travel bans as a means of preventing the legitimate human rights work and exercise of rights, which may have a chilling effect on human rights defenders and civil society as a whole in Bahrain.

The committee urged Bahrain to provide additional information on these allegations, and information concerning the legal basis for the travel bans issued against Nidal Al-Salman, in view of Bahrain's international human rights obligations in particular.

It also requested Bahrain to provide clarifications on the ongoing and increasing practice of the use of travel bans to prevent Bahraini human rights defenders from participating in activities held in connection to the conferences or events of the United Nations and its human rights mechanisms as well as other international organizations.

The committee wished to receive response from Bahrain within 60 days after sending the letter, explaining that the response will be made available in a report to be presented to the Human Rights Council for its consideration.

The UN committee urged Bahrain to take all necessary measures to halt the alleged violations and ensure the accountability of any person responsible for the alleged violations.

Each of David Kaye, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Michel Forst, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders and Alda Facio, Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice, signed the letter.

Arabic Version