On the Occasion of the February 14th Movement: No Religious Freedoms in Bahrain

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.