Bahrain Targets Religious Freedoms for 5 Consecutive Years

The security authorities in Bahrain are taking provocative measures against the ceremonies of Ashura. These measures are considered a blatant violation of the religious freedoms which are ensured by the international covenants and the Bahraini Constitution.

 Article 22 of the Bahraini Constitution states that “the State shall guarantee the sanctity of places of worship, freedom to practice religious rights, take out processions and hold religious congregations according to the custom observed in the country.” Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.” In addition Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states that “everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.”

Bahrain’s Minister of Foreign Affair denied the presence of any practices or discrimination that target the Shiites, in the same time the security authorities in Bahrain tighten their grip and restrictions on the religious practices, attack Ashura commemoration rituals, and violate the sanctity of these rituals according to the Shiite sect. The security forces shot the citizens who were protesting against these measures, in addition to the continuous siege imposed on Duraz, and preventing the clerics from reaching the obsequies.

Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (GIDHR) condemns the Bahraini authority targeting of the religious freedoms, and calls on the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the international community and the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief Mr. Heiner Bielefeldt to press on the Bahraini Government to put an end to the violations that target the Shiite citizens.

Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights in Australia

(GIDHR)