Violations of Ashura 2017

On the occasion of the visit of Mr. Dwight Bashir, Director of Research and Policy for the US Commission on International Religious Freedom in Bahrain, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) urge the US authorities to emphasise in their dialogue with the Bahraini authorities, the need for concrete changes in upholding Bahrain’s obligations to guarantee the freedom of religion and belief. BCHR also calls on the Bahraini authorities to extend an invitation to the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion and Belief to conduct a mission to Bahrain to assess the situation of religious freedom and formulate recommandations for combating religious discrimination, sectarianism and intolerance. 
A report issued by the American Committee on Religious Freedom shows the deterioration of religious freedom in Bahrain, especially the increase of investigations and convictions of a number of clerics, in addition to preventing some clerics from entering specific mosques for prayers in Duraz Area. 
BCHR documented that Bahraini authorities have severely curtailed freedom of religion and belief of its Shia population, imposing tight restrictions to hold mourning ceremonies marking Ashura in October 2017. 
BCHR monitored a number of violations, which ranged from removing Shiite banners, flags and figures, from summons of around 67 citizens including number of clerics, like Sheikh Hassan al-‘Ali, Sheikh Hassan al-Banna Ali Hammad.  AbdulAmir AlBiladi was suspended for two days only because he called for the release of his colleague.
Nuwaidrat, Maameer and Malikya villages were attacked with tear gas and shot pellets for resisting the security forces who were removing all the Ashura banners.  Many families and children were targeted by tear gas. 
In Duraz, security froces used excessive force, teargas and rubber bullets against citizens who were peacefully marching next to the house of the most prominent cleric in Bahrain shaikh Isa Ahmed Qasim. 
These systematic violations by the authorities in Bahrain are contradictory to the provisions of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Bahrain in article 22, which guarantees “freedom to perform religious rituals, processions and religious meetings in accordance with the customs of the country, and to international human rights standards.
Many organizations beside the US government called the Bahraini government to fully implement the recommendations of the Bahraini Commission of Inquiry, including those relating to freedom of religion and belief, sectarian incitement and respect for beliefs.