12 March 2020- Bahrain’s authorities declared suspending the flights of the stranded Bahraini pilgrims in Iran after the outbreak of Covid-19 in multiple Iranian cities. Travel agencies were informed by official bodies the next flight which was supposed to bring the second batch of the pilgrims was delayed.
This decision was declared following the diagnosis of 77 passengers out of the 165 who were on the first flight, with Corona Virus. Nearly 1300 Bahrainis were stuck in Iran for more than 2 weeks before Bahrain’s decided to start their evacuation.
This decision violates Bahrain’s constitution which states in article 8 “every citizen is entitled to health care. The State cares for public health and the State ensures the means of prevention and treatment by establishing a variety of hospitals and healthcare institutions.” While Article 17 (b) clearly states that “it is prohibited to banish a citizen from Bahrain or prevent him from returning to it.”
The Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights calls on the Bahraini authorities to take their responsibilities and evacuate all the citizens who are stuck in Iran without any delay. GIDHR also urges Bahrain to provide adequate quarantine centres which comply with the standards of the World Health Organisation. Information reported that quarantine centres are overcrowded, in addition they do not comply with proper isolation measures, especially the precautionary quarantine rooms.
GIDHR also condemns the statement issued by the Parliament and signed by 18 MPs, which calls to delay the return of the stranded Bahrainis abroad. This statement represents a blatant breach to the constitution of Bahrain, promotes sectarian discrimination and creates disharmony among the people of the one nation.