Appeal from Bahraini NGOs to UN, International NGOs & Media

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Six Bahraini NGOs have written a joint open letter to the UN, international NGOs, media and ally governments, appealing for attention and support in advance of August 14th.

The letter was signed by Bahrain Center for Human Rights, Bahrain Human Rights Society, European-Bahraini Organization for Human Rights, Bahrain Watch, Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights and Bahrain Human Rights Observatory. It reads in part:
In the past few weeks, the human rights situation in Bahrain has rapidly deteriorated ahead of planned mass protests on August 14th. With many of the country’s most prominent Human Rights Defenders behind bars, local NGOs have inadequate resources to keep up with the unfolding situation, and it is challenging for them to ensure the safety of their members.

Bahraini HRDs should not be left to stand alone. We urge international human rights organizations to attempt to visit Bahrain over the coming week, in order to document and monitor ongoing protests, especially on August 14th when Bahrain is expected to come under lock-down.  The government has already declared that all protests in the capital Manama are banned.

International human rights organizations have done a good job of highlighting the human rights situation in Bahrain, though their physical presence in the country has been lacking due to a state policy of controlled access.  Nonetheless, their presence is important, as witnesses and in solidarity with those fighting for justice, human rights, and democracy.

We call on mainstream media networks to dedicate particular attention to the situation in Bahrain in the build up to August 14 and to send journalists into the country. What happens in the coming week could be critical.

To the Government of Bahrain’s closest allies; Mr. David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Mr. Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, we urge you to remain neutral, if not supportive of the peoples’ right to self-determination. This is not a call for intervention, but rather we urge you to live up to claims of ethical foreign policies that take human rights into consideration and to end your active support of the government of Bahrain.

Finally, we call on the United Nations and its Special Rapporteurs to be proactive and to reiterate the rights of Bahrainis to free speech, freedom of assembly, the right to adequate medical care, and to pressure the authorities to refrain from using force, particularly tear gas and birdshot, ahead of August 14th. Public statements reminding those who are responsible of guaranteeing these rights are needed as well as activating direct channels with officials in such positions.
 Read full letter.

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