Six UN Experts Call for Investigation into Abuse of Bahraini Female Rights Defenders Ebtisam Al-Sayegh, Zainab Al Khamis and Hajar Mansour

2019-03-21 - 12:49 ص

Bahrain Mirror: Six UN experts have expressed "serious concerns" over violations and threats that three Bahraini human rights defenders, Hajar Mansour, Ebtisam Al-Sayegh and Zainab Al Khamis, have been routinely subjected to in Bahrain, demanding an investigation into their mistreatment.

The experts highlighted that Ebtisam was subjected to sexual and physical abuse in custody, and continues to be subjected to travel restrictions to prevent her participation in the Human Rights Council. "During the session in June-July 2018, Ebtisam was threatened with rape and defamation on Twitter and Instagram from two accounts, one of which appears to belong to a well-known Bahraini security officer. This came after she expressed human rights concerns on social media." The appeal also mentioned the abuses Hajar Mansour was exposed to after being arrested in retaliation against her son-in-law BIRD's Director of Advocacy, Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, stating that she has been repeatedly subjected to ill-treatment and unjustified restrictions while in prison.

The experts also noted that Zainab Al Khamis was summoned and interrogated multiple times and asked about her activism and family links, adding that officials also stopped Zainab at Bahrain International Airport and subjected her to travel bans and strip searches.

The experts urged that all necessary interim measures be taken to halt the alleged violations and prevent their re-occurrence and in the event that the investigations support or suggest the allegations to be correct, to ensure the accountability of any person(s) responsible for the alleged violations.

The appeal was sent by the following parties to the Bahraini Government: Mandates of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief; and the Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice.

The appeal was sent due to allegations they received concerning threats, including death and rape threats, travel restrictions and other human rights violations against two human rights defenders: Ms. Ebtisam Abdulhusain Ali-AlSaegh and Ms. Zainab Abdullah Salman Al Khamis. They have also received allegations regarding further acts of reprisals, including physical abuse in detention, against Ms. Hajar Mansoor Hasan, the mother-in-law of a well-known defender who is currently outside the country.

The UN experts expressed serious concern at the fact that travel restrictions, politically motivated charges, threats, including death threats and threats of sexual violence, and physical violence appear to be among the measures used to prevent human rights defenders from carrying out their peaceful and legitimate work in defense of human rights in Bahrain. Their concerns in this case are heightened by the fact that the violations against Ms. AliAlSaegh and Ms. Mansoor Hasan are reported as acts of intimidation and reprisal for their cooperation with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights. The experts reiterated their concerns for the criminalisation of freedom of expression in Bahrain and urged the authorities to investigate the allegations of abuse against the women.

The team of experts also said that they would like to draw the attention of the Bahraini Government to the relevant international norms and standards that are applicable to the issues brought forth by the situation described above, asking for the authorities' observations on the following matters: Provide details about any investigation that may have taken place into the threatening messages, which included death threats and threats of sexual violence, received by Ms. Ebtisam Abdulhusain Ali-AlSaegh via Twitter and Instagram, and whether they may be linked to a Bahraini security officer, and provide detailed information on the decision to enforce travel restrictions on Ms. Ebtisam Abdulhusain Ali-AlSaegh and Ms. Zainab Abdullah Salman Al Khamis.

Also indicate what measures have been taken to ensure adequate treatment of Ms. Hajar Mansoor Hasan while in detention and that she receives a fair hearing without further undue delay in conformity to international human rights law. Please also indicate the measures taken to investigate abuses perpetrated against Ms. Hasan in the prison, and provide details about the measures taken by your Government to end travel restrictions, politically motivated charges, threats, and physical violence as acts of reprisals for cooperation with the UN in the field of human rights.


Arabic Version

التعليقات المنشورة لا تعبر بالضرورة عن رأي الموقع

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