Istanbul – The Bahraini-German Organization for Human Rights and Democracy (BGO) participated in a conference on “Defending Human Rights in the Arab World, Middle East, and Turkey: Issues and Challenges.” The conference was organized by the Association for Lawyers and Human Rights Defenders Without Borders in Turkey, in cooperation with the Rule of Law Program Middle East/North Africa of the Konrad-Adenauer Foundation (KAS), Beirut office. The conference was held in Istanbul, Turkey, from the 26th to the 27 of October, 2016, and it was attended by over 16 personalities and organizations, including the Moroccan Organization for Human Rights, the Judicial and Legal Research Center (Tunisia), Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association (Palestine), and the Human Rights Association in Turkey.
In a speech he delivered during the conference via Skype, BGO President, Abdulelah Al-Mahoozi, reiterated that the Bahraini people’s main demand is democratic transition into a system where the people have the right to self-determination, and where they are the source of authority and its legitimacy. Mr. Al-Mahoozi highlighted some of the violations that the ruling regime in Bahrain has committed against the people, including arresting and torturing thousands of detainees, some of whom were doctors and medics; dissolving political, religious, and human rights institutions; demolishing mosques and places of worship; and a recourse to political naturalization alongside revoking the citizenship of dissidents among the native population. Mr. Al-Mahoozi also spoke about the targeting of human rights activists and the banning of at least 19 such activists them from travel, such as the case of Nabeel Rajab, president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) who is currently imprisoned.
During the comments that followed Mr. Al-Mahoozi’s speech, Jordanian activist and parliamentarian, Hind AlFayez, expressed that she felt ashamed at the role played by the Jordanian forces in the repression of the Bahraini people, and she called for exposing the names of the Jordanian officers who are implicated in the torture of Bahrainis and are otherwise guilty of human rights abuses in Bahrain. Another participant at the conference wondered about the justifications and consequences of citizenship revocation, to which Mr. Al-Mahoozi responded that citizenship revocations are used by the ruling regime in Bahrain as a policy of “silent execution” of dissidents.
During the conference, two reports prepared by BGO were shown, one on the conditions of detainees in Bahraini prisons, and the other highlighting the conditions of those who are targeted by the regime. The participants at the conference were appalled after seeing the level of horrendous human rights abuses endured by the detainees in Bahraini regime prisons.