Bahrain: Bahrain: Authorities continue to target women’s rights defender Ghada Jamsheer
The Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR) expresses serious concern over the ongoing targeting by authorities of women’s rights defender Ghada Jamsheer in Bahrain. She faces a travel ban and continuous judicial harassment.
On 14 March 2015 she was informed by the security office at Bahrain International Airport that a travel ban has been imposed on her travel abroad by order of the Office of the General Prosecutor. She was on her way to get medical treatment in France.
On 23 March 2015 she went to the Public Prosecutor’s Office and got a letter suggesting that she should submit a travel request to the High Criminal Court. These bureacratic obstacles hinder her from exercising her natural right to get the required medical treatment that she needs abroad.
On the same day she got two telephone calls from the Public Prosecutor’s Office summoning her to appear before the Public Prosecutor on 29 March in relation to an alleged charge of “insulting a police woman” when she was in prison more than seven months ago. On 15 December 2014, she was released after spending more than three months in detention in connection with this charge.
Jamsheer is a well-known women’s rights defender who is President of the Women's Petition Committee (WPC), a network of Bahraini women human rights defenders who campaign for the codification of Bahrain’s family laws and their reform.
The GCHR expresses its concern about the travel ban imposed on Jamsheer and the judicial harassment against her and believes that this kind of harassment is merely aimed at deterring human rights defenders from their human rights activities.
The GCHR believes that the travel ban and the prosecution of Ghada Jamsheer is in direct violation to her right to freedom of expression. We therefore call on the United Kingdom, the United States, the European Union, the United Nations, and all other allies of Bahrain to urge the authorities in Bahrain to:
- Revoke the travel ban and drop all of the charges against Ghada Jamsheer;
- End the campaign of judicial harassment against her for her peaceful activism and for exercising her right to freedom of expression;
- End the practice of targeting human rights defenders and activists for their work, and release the prisoners of conscious in Bahrain.
The GCHR respectfully reminds the Bahraini government that the United Nations Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, adopted by consensus by the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1998, recognizes the legitimacy of the activities of human rights defenders, their right to freedom of association and to carry out their activities without fear of reprisals. We would particularly draw your attention to Article 6 (b and c): “Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others: (b) As provided for in human rights and other applicable international instruments, to freely publish, impart or disseminate to others views, information and knowledge on all human rights and fundamental freedoms; (c) To study, discuss, form and hold opinions on the observance, both in law and in practice, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and, through these and other appropriate means, to draw public attention to those matters”, and to Article 12 (1 and 2): “(1) Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to participate in peaceful activities against violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms. (2) The State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration.”