The world celebrates the International Day for Living Together in Peace on 16 May of each year.
Living together in peace is accepting our differences and being able to listen, learn and respect others, and to live in peace together. The United Nations General Assembly, in its resolution 72/130, declared 16 May as the World Day to Live Together in Peace, affirming that such a day is the way to mobilize the efforts of the international community to promote peace, tolerance, solidarity, understanding and interdependence, and to express the desire of members of society to live and work together, united despite their differences towards building a world of peace, solidarity and harmony.
Since the pro-democracy movement in Bahrain in 2011, nine years ago, prisoners of conscience remain behind prison bars, including dozens who suffer from incurable diseases that require immediate treatment, in addition to the elderly. According to international reports, they did not commit a crime other than expressing their opinion, or criticizing the government’s practices on social media, among the most prominent of those who were arrested and are still behind bars in prison until today is the prominent human rights defender and head of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), Nabeel Rajab, who was sentenced to five years of imprisonment for tweeting.
According to Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and this right includes the freedom to hold opinions without any interference, and to draw, receive, and broadcast news and ideas by any means without being bound by geographical borders.”
Nedal Al-Salman, who is the Acting President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, stated: “The release of prisoners of conscience in Bahrain and the promotion of tolerance is a necessity to promote reconciliation and to help ensure peace and sustainable development.”
On this international occasion, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) calls on the Bahraini government to initiate the release of all prisoners of conscience in order to affirm respect for human rights and the values of peace.