Bahraini Authorities Should Stop Imposing New Travel Bans to Prevent Human Rights Defenders Speaking Out Ahead of Bahrain’s Third Cycle of the UN Universal Periodic Review


Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) is seriously concerned about Bahrain’s imposition of travel bans against human rights defenders attempting to take part in Bahrain’s Third Cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). Travel bans have been imposed on Radhi Qatari, Sayed Sharaf Mosawi and Hussein Radhi. 12 other activists have been summoned for interrogation. BCHR condemns any attempts at preventing civil society from engaging with the UN UPR and call on Bahrain to lift all cases of travel bans and other restrictive and intimidating measures like interrogations.

On 20 April, Bahraini authorities imposed travel bans on human rights activists Radhi Qatari, Sayed Sharaf Mosawi and Hussein Radhi. These bans are not consistent with international standards on restrictions on freedom of movement and are taken ahead of Bahrain’s Third Cycle UPR, which takes place on 1 May in Geneva, consequently preventing activists to participate in the event. More human rights activists are likely to be travel banned in the next days.

Today, on 21 April, the Public Prosecution also summoned 12 activists to interrogation, including two from BCHR. Farida Guloom (Wa’ad) Ebrahim Sharif  (Wa’ad), Sharaf Mosawi (Transparency), Radhi Mosawi  (Wa’ad), Fatima Motawa (Lawyer), Mohamed Tajer (Lawyer), Enas Oun (BCHR), Ahmed al Saffar (BCHR), Fatima al Halwachi (EBHR), Zainab Khamis (BHRS), Masooma al Sayed (Activist) and Al Qatari (BHRO) received subpoenas not mentioning any specific reason for interrogation.

Preventing civil society from engaging with the UN is a tool being used by the Bahraini government to intimidate and silence freedom of expression. There is a pattern of reprisals against human rights defenders to prevent them from reporting on severe ongoing rights abuses in the country.

As a signatory to the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Bahrain has committed to uphold international standards of freedom of movement and freedom of expression. Both rights must only be restricted in limited circumstances.

BCHR calls on Bahrain to:

  • immediately and unconditionally lift the bans imposed on civil society activists and allow them to freely travel and engage with the UN.
  • end all measures of harassment and intimidation of HRDs, including interrogations and travel bans.

BCHR also calls on the international community to:

  • hold the government of Bahrain of its commitments and obligations to foster a safe environment for human rights defenders.