Fury and anger have dominated the human rights world after Saudi Arabia was elected to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, despite the country being ranked by human rights experts as one of the worst for gender equality.The role of the UN’s Commission is to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women. Saudi women are forbidden from obtaining a passport, marrying or accessing higher education without the approval of a male guardian — usually a husband, father, brother, or son. Saudi women are also banned from driving and are forced to have the permission of a male guardian to travel or work in the oppressive kingdom. In a report last year, Human Rights Watch said “as long as it [Saudi Arabia] fails to take steps to eliminate the discriminatory practices of male guardianship and sex segregation, the Government is undermining the ability of women to enjoy even the most basic rights”.
The Saudis who are waging wars on several fronts have escalated their aggression on the people of the Eastern Province. On Thursday 20th April several towns were attacked including Awwamiyah, the birth place of Martyr Sheikh Nimr Al Nimr. They attacked the home of Sayed Hamza AlShakhouri at AlNasera District of Awwamiya. He is a political refugee in New Zealand. The attack came one day after the visit by US Secretary of State for Defence, James Mattice to Riyadh during which he pledged to continue supporting the Saudi illegal war and aggression on Yemen.
A Saudi-owned television channel could face closure in the UK after it committed a “serious” breach of British broadcast rules in broadcasting an interview with an imprisoned Bahraini torture survivor. The future of Al Arabiya News in the UK hangs in the balance after independent regulator Ofcom found that it infringed on the privacy of imprisoned opposition leader and torture survivor Hassan Mushaima, when it broadcast footage of him obtained during his arbitrary detention in Bahrain. Arabic-language Al Arabiya News, which is broadcast in the UK and across Europe and the Middle East, could now face a potential £100,000 fine or suspension of its licence after a complaint was made on behalf of Mushaima by a US-based rights group.
Reporters Without Borders has issued its 2017 World Press Freedom Index. Bahrain and Saudi Arabia ranked down near the bottom of the index at 164 and 168 respectively out of 180.
In a flagrant violation of one of the most basic rights, the Alkhalifa regime continued its policy of stripping native citizens of their natural right of citizenship. Yesterday their court issued a shocking ruling to strip 36 natives of their citizenship for engaging in anti-regime activities. The same court passed life sentences on three native Bahrainis and prison sentences of 3 to 10 years on the rest. This brings the number of native Bahrainis whose nationality has been revoked to over 408.
More than 30 human rights and political activists have been summoned by the regime’s torture apparatus and charged with “illegal gathering, rioting and incitement against the government”. The offence is alleged to have occurred on 6th January outside a mosque in Duraz. The town has been under total siege for more than ten months and no one from outside is allowed access. Most of those summoned and charged had not been to that town for years. The liberal political leader, Ibrahim Sharif and his wife, were among those charged. He said he has not been to Duraz for six years. The human rights activists were targeted in this way to prevent them from attending the Universal Periodic Review of Bahrain’s human rights records which started this week. The regime sent its mouthpieces to Geneva to defend its bleak reputation while preventing human rights activists from attending.
Yesterday Amnesty International issued a statement condemning this flagrant attack on the activists under the heading: 32 dissidents rounded up within days in clampdown ahead of UN human rights session”. It said: “Those summoned include human rights defenders, political activists, lawyers, a journalist and relatives of victims of human rights violations, raising fears that they are being targeted as part of a deliberate attempt to stop them – and deter others – from criticizing Bahrain ahead of and during its upcoming review at the UN Human Rights Council.” “The intensified crackdown against Bahraini dissidents in recent days is highly alarming and exposes the shocking extremes to which Bahrain’s authorities are prepared to go to silence criticism of their human rights record,” said Samah Hadid Director of Campaigns at Amnesty International’s Beirut Office. “The timing, just a week before the examination of the country’s human rights record at the UN Human Rights Council, strongly suggests that this is part of a deliberate attempt to prevent peaceful critics from speaking out about the government’s record in Geneva.”
Bahrain Freedom Movement
26th April 2017 (email@example.com, www.vob.net)