The UN General Assembly identified solidarity as one of the fundamental values of international relations in the 21st Century, convinced that the promotion of the culture of solidarity and the spirit of sharing is important to maintain international peace and security based on the concept of collective security. Therefore, the UN General Assembly, proclaimed 20 of December as International Human Solidarity Day. It is a day to celebrate our unity in diversity; to remind governments to respect their commitments to international agreements; to raise public awareness of the importance of solidarity; and to encourage debate on the ways to promote solidarity for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Despite all the international calls and the reports that humanitarian and human rights organizations are struggling to publish in order to shed light on the flagrant violations of human rights that are taking place in Bahrain, the government continues with its repressive practices, and the human rights situation in Bahrain is still deteriorating. The Bahraini government continues to target human rights defenders through its systematic torture against them, and through the unfair death sentences it issues.
Given the current conditions that the world is experiencing today in light of the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) is concerned about the prisons overcrowded with prisoners of conscience and human rights defenders. In addition, prisoners are subjected to deliberate medical neglect and are denied health care, which endangers their lives as well. “Amid this global crisis, neglect due to treatment and lack of health care exacerbate the risk of the virus spreading inside the overcrowded Bahraini prisons,” said Nedal Al Salman, President of BCHR and Vice President of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH). This is in violation of the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.
At a time when the government is striving to exonerate from its practice, BCHR has documented the suppression of religious freedoms in contradiction to international treaties, with the aim of changing the demographic composition of the country and negating the basic rights of indigenous people. The Bahraini authorities have taken the outbreak of the new Coronavirus as an excuse to prevent citizens from practicing their religious rites, while keeping sports halls and other activities open.
Based on the importance of this day, which stresses solidarity to spread the culture of human rights, to promote the principles of humanitarian work and respect these principles that would reduce human rights violations, to provide a safe environment in which peace and justice are strengthened, BCHR calls on all international bodies to show solidarity with the Bahraini citizens and pressure the Bahraini government to:
- Abide by the agreements and treaties it has ratified;
- Release of prisoners of conscience, especially the elderly and the sick;
- Respect for the civil and political freedoms of the Bahraini people, including religious freedom.