NPWJ Broadcasts "Beyond Covid-19: A Nine-Year Lockdown for Bahrain" Webinar

2020-05-23 - 9:11 ص

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) broadcasted on Friday (May 22, 2020) on its social media platforms a webinar entitled "Beyond Covid-19: A Nine-Year Lockdown for Bahrain".

NPWJ decided to organize a weekly panel discussion, named "Beyond Covid-19", to shed light on important human rights issues easily forgotten during the global lockdown. While our daily lives may feel like they are somewhat "on hold", human rights violations have not been suspended - on the contrary, they continue to occur.

This week a pool of experts discussed the future of Bahrain during the Coronavirus pandemic and the possibility of reconciliation after the lock down lifts. The panel, chaired by Tara Reynor O'Grady, Human Rights Practitioner from NGO Sentinel HRD, hosted Ali Al-Aswad, former opposition member of Parliament of Bahrain; Ibtisam Al-Saegh, Human Rights Defender from NGO Salam for Democracy and Human Rights; and Said Yousif Al-Muhafdah, Vice President of Salam for Democracy and Human Rights.

Among the main issues highlighted are the absence of fundamental rights and basic healthcare for detainees, and the lack of clarity on the part of the government in respect of the potential release of including - including political ones - in occasion of the Eid and even more so during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While international and regional interests are involved in Bahrain, the panelists underscored the importance of walking towards reconciliation and dialogue resorting to UN fora. Suggestions for the shape of things to come included building a framework for a new way forward rooted in foundations of inalienable human rights. The peculiar political and social situation caused by the current pandemic has been pointed at as a potential turning point for the government to seek reconciliation and to implement international recommendations, involving younger generations in the path forward, led by a new political class. This vision of inclusivity could be realised through discourse and negotiation between the reigning elites, Baharna community and those in exile once the political prisoners were afforded their liberty as a monumental step towards justice and reconciliation.

Eventually, all the speakers' interventions converged in a common appeal to the Bahraini government, asking for accountability against tortures, abuses and human rights violations that are still taking place within the country.

The path ahead may remain unclear but the will is unified and committed to a better brighter future for all peoples on the island of Bahrain.