As the Coronavirus turns into a pandemic that threatens the entire world, most of world governments decided to reduce the risks facing prisoners who, most of the times, are placed in huge numbers inside small cells, making it prone for the virus’ growth. This was the reason why most governmental authorities furloughed their prisoners until the threat is gone, although many prisoners pose a danger to their societies.
In Bahrain, however, despite the sharp spike in the number of infections, reaching more recently 13,733 confirmed cases according to the World Health Organization [WHO], the Bahraini regime’s authorities still refuse to let its prisoners out, even temporarily.
In addition to non-abiding by the recommended measures, fears for the health conditions of the opinion prisoners increase, especially after the news circulating that the Bahraini Interior Ministry suspended a group of police officers on suspicions that they are infected with the Coronavirus. This is yet another clear violation of the minimum rights detainees must have.
On the human rights and legal levels, the Universal Declaration for Human Rights emphasizes the right to live in “suitable health conditions for all”. Additionally, the International Pact for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights provides that prisoners have the right to the maximum reachable level of physical and mental health. Relatively, the minimum standard rules for treating detainees guarantee providing them with healthcare.
Indeed, the negligence to provide detainees in Bahraini prisons with the required healthcare is not the first of its kind. It is a permanent and continued suffering. In the Drydock Prison, there are dozens of prisoners with scabies. Instead of assuming responsibility to provide the required treatment, the prison’s administration forces their families to do this, plus demanding unavailable brands of the required medication.
Based on this, the Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights raised a message to the international community to demand rapid action to pressure the Bahraini government for providing the required medical care for its prisoners, as well as to abide by the WHO’s recommendations to curb the spread of the virus inside the prisons.
All human rights organizations and activists are invited to take part in the ongoing campaign to #Release_Bahraini_Prisoners