Between the 6th and the 23th of June 2018, the Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (GIDHR) have partook in the 35th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, held in Geneva. Mr. Ghassan Khamis; Chairman of the International Relations Committee has represented the GIDHR.
Mr. Khamis has met representatives of several States’ permanent mission to highlight the human rights violations against activists and opponents in Bahrain. He has urged them to set effective recommendations to the Bahraini government in order to improve the human rights situation and pressure them to take serious measures in this regard.
The representative of the GIDHR; Mr. Khamis, has also participated in various events and side events organised at the margin of the HRC sessions, which have all highlighted the deteriorating human rights situation in the region.
Indeed, Mr. Khamis’s efforts have been welcomed by members of the permanent missions who have expressed willingness to cooperate with local and international human rights organisations to find effective means of pressure on the government of Bahrain to put an end to the abuses being committed in the country.
On Monday, 30 April 2018, a delegation from the Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (GIDHR) have visited the responsible for the Arab Gulf state’s affairs, in the Middle East Department of the Australian Foreign Ministry.
The meeting has been attended by Yahiya al-Hadeed, Ghassan Khamis, and Fatimah Yazbek; in lieu of GIDHR. Mr. Tom Wilson has represented the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the former Australian Ambassador in Riyadh along with two officials concerned on the Middle East and the Arab Gulf state’s affairs.
The meeting has been initiated by presenting the GIDHR’s objectives, vision and work mechanisms. The delegation have expressed their gratitude and appreciation on Australia’s ongoing support for the people of Bahrain.
Further, the head of GIDHR; Mr. Yahiya al-Hadeed has voiced the sharp escalation of human rights violation in Bahrain. Mr. al-Hadeed has condemned the increasing death penalty sentences and the unfair trial of Sheikh Ali Salman and Nabil Rajab.
The meeting, in addition, has dissected the issue of the exiled Bahraini activists whose citizenships have been revoked, the commitment to highlight and urgently tackle their humanitarian case and the countries’ obligation to grant them the right to asylum.
The delegation have requested the Australian Foreign Ministry to effectively cooperate with the GIDHR in order to issue joint international stance against the Government of Bahrain’s continuous human rights violations; especially in the coming Human Rights Council’s sessions.
Moreover, the GIDHR’s delegation recommended the Australian Foreign Ministry to adopt an initiative that issue a joint statement to pressure the Government of Bahrain in order to approve off and facilitate the United Nations Special Rapporteurs’ unconditional visit to the prisons of Bahrain.
For his part, Mr. Wilson has expressed his deep gratitude to the GIDHR, which provide the Australian Foreign Ministry with their periodic reports, information and recent updates on the human rights situation in Bahrain and in the Arab Gulf region, in general.
Mr. Wilson has also appreciated the GIDHR’s efforts to highlight for the international community Bahrain’s human rights situation, from their headquarter in Australia. As well as he has welcomed cooperation with the GIDHR and requested to continually provide the Ministry with their recent reports and information.
Finally, Mr. Wilson has dissected the Saudi Crown Princes Mohammed bin Salman recent reforms and its impact on the rights situation in Saudi Arabia.
On 14 February, Ghassan Khamis; the Chairman of the International Relations Committee at the Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (GIDHR) have attended an activity on the onset of the peaceful protests anniversary, which demanded democracy in Bahrain, held in the Australian city of Sydney.
The GIDHR have presented a brief report on the religious freedoms in Bahrain. The report highlights the human rights violations practiced by the Bahraini authorities to restrict religious freedoms and to prevent citizens from exercising their right to religious freedom.
According to the brief report, presented by Mr. Khamis presented, the authorities prevent the Shiite citizens from their right to hold the Friday prayers in Bahrain’s central mosque in the Duraz village. The authorities in Bahrain has completely blockaded the village’s entries, and it prevent the clergyman who orchestrate the prayer and the congregation to access the mosque.
The brief report also points to the targeting of the annual A’ashura religious rituals; held by the Shiite community, during the two months of the Islamic lunar calendar: Muharram and Safar. During this annual occasion, the authorities have arbitrarily removed many religious flags, posters and black banners, in various Bahraini cities and villages. By the same token, many food tents [Mutheef], which serve free food in A’ashura were removed.
In addition, the brief report expounds the authorities’ excessive force and violent clampdown against A’ashura religious rituals and processions.
Eventually, the GIDHR recommends the international community, the concerned human rights bodies and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion and peaceful assembly to immediately intervene and take serious measures to end the violations and allow the citizens in Bahrain to exercise their religious rites.
On Thursday, 8 February 2018, the Australian Foreign Ministry have held its 2018 Annual Meeting with the Human Rights and Civil Society Organisations, working in Australia, at the National Museum of Art and Porcelain, in Canberra capital city.
Mr. Ghassan Khamis, Chairman of the International Relations Committee at the Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (GIDHR) has highlighted the GIDHR’s work, vision, and objectives.
Khamis has stressed the GIDHR’s perseverance to promote the principles of democracy, respect for human rights and the publication of the human rights awareness among peoples.
He has also expounded the ongoing intensifying human rights violations, in the Gulf region, especially in Bahrain; amid the absence of justice and impunity, to the Australian Foreign Ministry’s officials; who are concerned with the Middle East and Human Rights Region.
The officials have shown their keenness to cooperate with the Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights and their readiness to take advantage of the GIDHR’s periodic reports and bulletins to improve the rights situation in the region.
On Tuesday, 23 January 2018, a delegation from the Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (GIDHR) have visited the Austrian Embassy in the Australian capital Canberra.
The delegation, supervised by Yahiya al-Hadeed; the head of the GIDHR have met with the representative of the Austrian Ambassador. Al-Hadeed highlighted Bahrain’s prosecution of the detained opposition leader and the Secretary-General of the Islamic National Society (al-Wefaq); Sheikh Ali Salman, since 2014, and his new politically motivated charges.
The GIDHR’s delegation have also dissected the Bahraini authorities’ Bahraini authorities’ of the Islamic National Society (al-Wefaq); its ongoing clampdown, in the country, on all sorts of political activism and restrictions on the right to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, press and associations.
Further, the GIDHR’s delegation have delivered a letter to the Ambassador of Austria in Australia, Mr. Bernard Zymurgy. The letter illustrates the intensification of the pace of repression and violations against peaceful protesters and opponents. It also explains the Bahrain’s judiciary escalating death penalty sentences; although the local and international human rights organisations have frequently risen doubts on these trials’ integrity; which do not match the minimum international standards of fair trial.
In his letter, the GIDHR have addressed Mr. Bernard Zymurgy to call the Government of Austria to pressure Bahrain to end its blatant practices and violations against the Bahraini people and to abolish its death penalty verdicts.
Officers in the Embassy of Austria have shown their readiness and keenness to cooperate with the GIDHR in his attempt to back the Bahraini citizens’ aspiration towards democracy, justice and maintain fundamental demands and human rights.
On Tuesday, 23 January 2018, a delegation from the Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (GIDHR) have visited New Zealand Embassy in the Australian capital Canberra.
The delegation, supervised by Yahiya al-Hadeed; the head of the GIDHR have met with the Director of the New Zealand Ambassador; Mr. Chris Master.
The GIDHR’s delegation have delivered a letter to Mr. Master; in which they highlight the intensifying death penalty sentences in Bahrain, regardless of the firm doubts expressed by local and international human rights organisations upon these trials that do not meet the minimum international standards of fair trial.
The letter also has spotlight on the escalation of the pace of repression and human rights violations against the dissents.
The GIDHR’s letter calls on Mr. Chris Master to demand from the New Zealand government to urge Bahrain to abolish these verdicts and to put an end to its blatant human rights violations.
Besides, the GIDHR’s delegation have thoroughly focused on the unfair trial of the opposition leader and the Secretary-General of the Islamic National Society (al-Wefaq); Sheikh Ali Salman and his new politically motivated charges.
The GIDHR’s delegation have, in addition, expressed their condemnation upon the Bahraini authorities’ closure of the Islamic National Society (al-Wefaq) and its arbitrary constraints over any political action or the right to exercise the freedom of expression and associations, in the country.
At the end of the visit, the New Zealand embassy representatives have expressed their willingness to cooperation with the GIDHR, to deliver their letter to the officials and to back their attempts to promote democracy and social justice in Bahrain.
On Monday, 14 November 2017, a delegation from the Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (GIDHR) have met Mrs. Clear Ohranor; the political adviser to the Australian Senator and Mr. Richard de Natail; the head of the Green Party.
The meeting has aimed at strengthening the GIDHR’s human rights relations and highlighting the deteriorating rights situation in the Bahrain.
Yahiya al-Hadeed, Head of the Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights has expressed his concerns over the possibility of fabricating new charges against the Secretary-General of the Islamic National Society (al-Wefaq); Sheikh Ali Salman to increase the term of his imprisonment and the need to move urgently to stop these practices.
For her part, Mrs. Oharanor has shown her thorough readiness to cooperate with the GIDHR in order to find lobbying mechanisms on the Government of Bahrain to end the human rights violations, in the country.
Besides, Ms. Oharanor has proposed the GIDHR to address and urge the Australian Foreign Ministry to take serious and urgent measures to end the human rights crisis in Bahrain.
On Wednesday, 20 September 2017, a delegation from the Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (GIDHR) have visited Australia’s federal parliamentarian for the Green Party, Mrs. Lee Rubin, at her office in Sydney. The visit has focused on the human rights situation in Bahrain, where the delegation have briefed some of the human rights violations’ reports
The visit has been initiated by expounding to Mrs. Rubin the GIDHR’s objectives, vision and work mechanisms. Next, the GIDHR’s delegation have shed light on the deteriorating human rights situation in Bahrain. They have also focused on the authorities’ systematic crackdown on any activity that reveals the ongoing committed violations.
Besides, the visit has highlighted the Bahraini government’s clampdown over the freedom of political action, the closure of the Islamic National Society (al-Wefaq) and the opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman’s imprisonment; based on politically fabricated charges.
The GIDHR have also emphasised the restriction on the freedom of expression, the closure of Al Wasat newspaper, the trial of the social media activists. Further, they have highlighted the severe verdicts against the prisoners of conscience, the escalating ratio of death sentences and prosecuting civilians before military courts.
For her part, Mrs. Rubin has expressed her dismay at the situation in the country, described the situation as “outrageous,” and promised to highlight these violations in the Australian Federal Parliament.
The delegation have also discussed the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Yemen, and the momentous violations caused by the military operations and the direct targeting of civilians and facilities.
On Friday, April 28 2017, a delegation from the Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (GIDHR) have visited the Embassy of the Belgian Kingdom in the Australian capital Canberra.
The delegation met the Belgian ambassador Mr. Gin Los Podson, within the GIDHR’s agenda of strengthening cooperation frameworks with the diplomatic institutions in order to improve the rights situation in the region.
Initially, the delegation have reflected the GIDHR’s objectives, its vision and concerns to promote rights awareness and the principles of democracy.
Then, they have highlighted the deterioration of the human rights conditions in Bahrain and the government’s response to the recommendations released by the Human Rights Council and the Universal Periodic Review, which worsen the situation in the country.
Moreover, the delegation have shed light on some examples of the ongoing blatant human rights violations practiced against opponents; including: Nationality revocation, death penalty based on trials that do not meet the minimum international standards of fair trial, travel bans on the activists, torture against prisoners of conscience and depriving them from their fundamental rights.
At the end of the visit, Mr. Podson has expressed his readiness to cooperate with the Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights and to forward its monthly and periodic reports to the relevant authorities.
Between the 27th of February and the 24th of March 2017, the Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (GIDHR) have partook in the 34th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, held in Geneva. Mr. Ghassan Khamis; Chairman of the International Relations Committee has represented the GIDHR.
Mr. Khamis has attended several events and side sessions on the sidelines of the session; orchestrated by various international and Bahraini human rights organisations, and which dealt with the human rights situation in several countries.
On more than one occasion, Mr. Khamis has highlighted the increasing cases of death penalty sentences and the nationality revocation; against dissidents on political grounds.
Further. Mr. Khamis has met the High Commissioner’s Assistant Mohamed Nahnuh and discussed the deteriorating human rights situation in Bahrain.
Mr. Khamis and other Bahraini activists have also met the UN Special Rapporteurs on enforced disappearances, peaceful assembly, freedom of expression, torture and the protection of human rights activists.
The meetings dealt with the human rights violations and abuses committed against dissents, rights activists and opponents in the country, in addition to the restrictions imposed on civil and political rights and freedoms; particularly the closure of al-Wasat newspaper, the travel bans on dissidents and other practices.
Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights in cooperation with The University of Melbourne Asia Institute are delighted to invite you to a seminar on "Human Rights Abuses in the Gulf States"
Friday, 31st March, 2017 - 12:30 p.m.
Room 321, Level 3, Sidney Myer Asia Centre, Swanston St, University of Melbourne
Participants will discuss the human rights abuses in the Gulf States, particularly the recent executions and the rising religious discrimination in Bahrain against the indigenous Bahrainis. Panelists will also shed the light on the human rights crisis caused by the war in Yemen.
GIDHR will launch a report on the recent executions in Bahrain.
The seminar will bring together members of:
- Amnesty International
- Socialist Alliance
- Welcome to Australia
- SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights.
GIDHR delegation met on Wednesday (February 15, 2017) Dr Bruno Scholl, the Head of Political, Press, and Information Section in the Delegation of the European Union to Australia and New Zealand. The visit aims to consolidate GIDHR international relations and to present the human rights situation in Bahrain. GIDHR delegation included Yahya Alhadid, GIDHR President, and Ghassan Khamis, the Head of International Relations Committee.
The discussion shed the light on the human rights issues in Bahrain, as GIDHR delegation emphasised on the seriousness of the escalating steps of the Bahraini regime, particularly the issues of executions, arbitrary arrests, targeting human rights and political activists, and confiscation of freedom of political activism.
Dr Scholl welcomed cooperating with Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (GIDHR) and seeking to put an end to the human rights violations in Bahrain.
Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (GIDHR) in coordination with Amnesty International and University of Sydney, organised, on November 11, 2016, a seminar “Revoking Citizenship in Bahrain: the Silent Execution”.
The seminar began with a video from SBS TV archive addressing revoking the citizenship of Sayed Alawi Al-Biladi because of demanding political reform through social media outlets.
Fiona Bachman, the committee board member at Amnesty International – Sydney, discussed Amnesty International’s annual reports of the current and the previous year to compare the increase in the human rights violations in Bahrain.
Ghassan Khamis, the head of the international relations committee in GIDHR, reviewed GIDHR report issued earlier this year about revoking citizenship in Bahrain.
Yahya Alhadid, the president of GIDHR, reported the Bahraini authorities’ usage of revoking citizenship as a weapon to punish the political and human rights activists and their families, what obliged many of them to leave the country.
Dr Mohammed Wahbi, the specialist in Arabic political affairs in University of Sydney, concluded the seminar considering that the policy of importing change doesn’t really make change, because the people and the society are the major motive of change. “The society is affected by the economic and social pressures, the revolution in Bahrain was affected by the Arabic Spring revolutions. It has lightly affected Saudi Arabia, and there are some opponents in the Gulf had emerged after the evolution in Bahrain,” he said.
Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (GIDHR) in Australia had participated in the 33rd session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva. Mr Ghassan Khamis, the head of the International Relations Committee, attended the Council on behalf of GIDHR from September 19, 2016 until September 26, 2016.
On Monday, September 19, Mr Khamis met with Mr Alexander Chapman, the Second Secretary at the Australian Permanent Mission to United Nation, and introduced GIDHR and its strategy in focusing on the Gulf region.
On Tuesday, September 20, Mr Ghassan Khamis met with Mrs Hannah McGlade, a professor in University of Curtin in Perth and UN Senior Indigenous Fellow. Mr Khamis explained the need to classify the Bahraini Shiites as indigenous people and the government policy of sectarian persecution.
On Wednesday, September 21, Mr Ghassan Khamis met with Mr Keith M. Harper, the US Ambassador Representative to Human Rights Council in Geneva and introduced GIDHR and its strategy in focusing on the Gulf region. He explained targeting the human rights defenders and the opponents. Mr Khamis also met with Mr Julian Braithwaite, the ambassador and permanent representative at the United Kingdom Mission. They discussed the sectarian discrimination against the Bahraini Shiites.
On Thursday, September 22, Mr Khamis met with Mr Leigh McCumber, the Canadian Mission in Geneva. They discussed the sectarian discrimination against the Bahraini Shiites.
On Friday, September 23, Mr Khamis with five Bahraini human rights organizations attended a meeting with Ms Renee Arian, the Human Rights Adviser for Middle East at the Australian Permanent Mission to Untied Nation. They discussed various topics regarding the repression in Bahrain. Mr Khamis, also, met with Mrs Agathe Artus, a member in Swiss Journalism Union. They discussed the situation and targeting the press and social media in Bahrain and the Gulf.
Mr Ghassan Khamis attended several sessions, meetings, protests and press conference during his visit to the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
On Wednesday, 7 September 2016, a delegation from the Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (GIDHR) have met Mr. David Cherbourg; the Australian Green Party’s representative in the New South Wales Parliament.
Mr. Cherbourg has shown his interest in the revocation of some Bahraini citizen’s nationality; particularly the human rights and political activists. He has also emphasised that he will reveal this issue in media.
Further, Mr. Cherbourg has promised to be a mediator between the GIDHR and the Australian Representative in the Human Rights Council in Geneva to advocate the Bahraini cause.
On the issue of the “I Omniscient” ; the Australian company that has signed a partnership contract with the American company BELCO and the Bahraini company LSS; to provide the Bahrain Interior Ministry advance surveillance technology to suppress peaceful protests demanding democracy. Mr. Cherbourg has vowed to diplomatically intervene in order to halt the exportation of this equipment, to Bahrain. He has also requested GIDHR to conduct a comprehensive file on this matter, to be referred to, if necessary.
For their part, the GIDHR’s delegation promised Mr. David Chouburg to prepare all the requested files and the information, as well as the GIDHR periodic reports issued on the Bahraini human rights situation.
Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (GIDHR) participated in the international conference “Shia Persecution in Bahrain” organised by “SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights” in coordination with “No Peace without Justice” in the Belgian capital, Brussels on April 22 and 23, 2016.
Ghassan Khamis, the head of the international relations committee in GIDHR, submitted a research paper titled “Sectarian Persecution in the Ruling System of Bahrain”. The research paper addressed 3 major titles, discrimination in each of the executive, legislative, and judiciary authorities.
Khamis reviewed Al-Khalifa’s seizure the presidency of the Cabinet since more than 4 decades, as well as the failure of the regime to fulfil the aspirations of people of Bahrain following their vote on the National Action Charter. He, also, explained the exclusive possession of holding the decision-making ministries by the ruling family, and the preserve of the ministries of interior, defence, foreign affairs, and justice for the Sunni sect only.
Furthermore, Khamis discussed the Shiite citizens, who make up around 70% of the Bahraini population, representation in the Parliament of Bahrain. The King of Bahrain divided the parliament into 2 equal chambers, the House of Representatives which is elected, and the Shura Council which is appointed by the King. Both chambers enjoy the same legislative powers.
“The Supreme Judicial Council, which is the highest judicial authority, is headed by the King who appoints the members of the Constitutional Court,” Khamis said. “Most of the supreme curts judges are members of the ruling family or non-Bahrainis, while the court of cassation judges are appointed or removed by royal decrees,” he added.
Khamis concluded by the opposition demands to employ the Shiite citizens in the judiciary, and to establish a judicial commission monitored by the parliament to form independent judiciary away from the government interference.