Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) - Annual Report 2015: Human Rights Defenders in Prison and in Peril throughout the Gulf and Neighbouring Countries



This is the fourth Annual Report of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), an independent NGO founded by human rights defenders from the Gulf region in 2011. GCHR documents the environment in which human rights defenders work in the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates), as well as Iran, Iraq, Yemen and Syria. This report outlines GCHR’s work in 2015 and the main issues faced by human rights defenders in the Gulf region and neighbouring countries as they bravely carry out their peaceful and legitimate human rights activities at great personal risk.

In 2015, the situation for human rights defenders continued to deteriorate in the Gulf region and neighbouring countries. Those working peacefully and legitimately for the promotion and protection of human rights do so in an increasingly dangerous environment, particularly in war-torn countries such as Syria, Iraq and Yemen and the impact of those conflicts have been felt in neighbouring countries. According to our research based on documentation, missions and interviews, human rights defenders face increased harassment, intimidation, arrest, detention and torture as a result of their human rights work. Many prominent human right defenders remain in detention and are subjected to inhumane prison conditions as well as ill treatment at the hands of prison authorities. Freedom of expression continues to be seriously curtailed throughout the region and the exercise of this fundamental right has led to hundreds of arrests and judicial harassment throughout 2015. Rather than protecting human rights defenders and promoting their work at a time when their role in peacebuilding is so desperately needed, the authorities have passed new laws such as cyber-crime laws, and clamped down on on-line expression, curtailing digital rights. Despite this challenging environment human rights defenders continue their work tirelessly, refusing to be silenced through intimidation, harassment or detention. 

For the full Annual Report Click above on "Download File". It is also available in Arabic.