On Thursday, 25 January 2017, a delegation from the Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (GIDHR) have visited the Australian Foreign Ministry. The meeting has been attended by Yahiya al-Hadeed, Ghassan Khamis, and Fatimah Yazbek; in lieu of GIDHR.
For his part, the Australian Foreign Office has been represented by Greg Ralf; Assistant Secretary of State for the Middle East, Kevin Blaiford; Director of Human Rights and Indigenous Affairs Department, Harold Owen; Assistant Director of Gulf Countries - Middle East Division.
The GIDHR have delivered the Australian Foreign Ministry a letter on the recent Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on Bahrain.
Moreover, the GIDHR’s delegation expounded the organisation’s objectives, vision, work mechanisms and publications.
The situation in Bahrain has been comprehensively briefed; since 2011 to date. The review has focused on the wide range of systematic sectarian persecution against the Shiite community and the regime’s ongoing clampdown; particularly the arrest of the prominent political leader Sheikh Ali Salman, the closure of Al-Wefaq political bloc and the nationality revocation of Bahrain’s spiritual leader Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim’s.
Then the GIDHR have highlighted the continuing crackdown, prosecution and persecution against Bahraini lawyers, activists and dissents. It also criticised the Australian Special Envoy for Human Rights Philip Ruddock visit to Bahrain, at the end of September 2016.
Further, the GIDHR have addressed the execution of three Bahraini citizens by the authorities in January 2017. They have expressed alarm that Bahrain would execute more prisoners of conscience amid the silence of the international community. The GIDHR have hoped that Australia would condemn this blatant violation politically motivated and unfair trials.
For its part, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have showed remarkable cooperation. They have also expressed readiness to receive any suggestions on the Universal Periodic Review’s (UPR) recommendations since they have not formulated their own recommendations yet.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ officials have additionally expressed their readiness to cooperate with the GIDHR to put an end to the human rights violations taking place in Bahrain. They requested the delegation to continuously provide them with the GIDHR’s electronic reports, statements and bulletins on the human rights to forward it to the Australian Embassy in Riyadh.