Nearly 160 organizations demand release of Maryam Al-Khawaja

Thursday, September 18, 2014
UPDATE: On September 18, Maryam Al-Khawaja was released pending trial and subjected to a travel ban. Al-Khawaja's trial will begin October 1. His Excellency Shaikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Khalifa Ambassador of Bahrain to Washington, D.C. Bahrain Embassy-Washington, D.C. 3502 International Drive NW Washington, D.C. 20008 USA Dear Ambassador, I am writing on behalf of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), a non-profit, non-governmental organization that works to promote and protect press freedom and freedom of expression around the world. CJFE adds its voice to the undersigned 154 civil society organisations based in over 60 countries write to you united in our condemnation of the politically motivated arrest of human rights defender and co-director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, Maryam Al-Khawaja at Manama airport on 30 August 2014. We urge that Maryam is immediately and unconditionally released. We believe that Maryam Al-Khawaja is being persecuted for exercising her legitimate rights to freedom of expression and association in the defence of fundamental freedoms including her co-operation with international institutions and her important role in documenting human rights violations in Bahrain. We stand in solidarity with Maryam and all other human rights defenders wrongly imprisoned by your government for their work and beliefs. We remind you that the harassment, intimidation or stigmatization of a human rights defender, including arrest, detention, trial or imprisonment for reasons of the opinions they may hold, constitute a serious violation of Bahrain’s obligations under international law. We remain concerned that since the pro-democracy protests intensified in February 2011 your government has deliberately subverted democratic freedoms using a combination of legal and extra-legal measures involving politically motivated prosecutions, brutal crackdowns on protests and silencing expressions of dissent in the print and online media. Many have raised the concern about the arbitrary detention of hundreds of pro-democracy activists and their being subjected to torture and ill-treatment in detention centres across Bahrain. At the UN Human Rights Council, during Bahrain’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in 2012 your government agreed to protect human rights defenders and allow them to conduct their work without hindrance, intimidation or harassment. On 5 September 2014, a group of United Nations independent human rights experts also demanded Maryam Al-Khawaja’s release, and urged you to follow through on your commitments made during the UPR to end the persecution of all human rights defenders in Bahrain. We support Maryam’s courage and strength for advocating for democratic change. We urge your government to recognise the legitimate demands of the Bahraini people for their rights and end the cycle of protest and repression. We thus call upon you to begin a process of democratic reform, healing and reconciliation in Bahrain. Key steps towards achieving the above would be to release all detained human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience and cease the oppression of human rights defenders, journalists and civil society organizations. We thank you for your attention and I look forward to your reply. Yours sincerely, Arnold Amber, CJFE President 1. African Life Center – USA 2. African Women’s Active Nonviolence Initiatives for Social Change (AWANICh) - Democratic Republic of the Congo 3. Aithria Agro-Environmental Research and Action Team – Greece 4. Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK) - Bangladesh 5. Aman Network for Rehabilitation & Defending Human Rights – United Kingdom 6. Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) – USA 7. Andalus institute for tolerance & Anti-violence studies – Egypt 8. Arab Network for Democratic Elections – Lebanon 9. Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND) – Lebanon 10. Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) – Egypt 11. ARTICLE 19 – UK 12. Asian Human Rights Commission – Hong Kong 13. Asian Press Institute – Sri Lanka 14. Association Dea Dia from Serbia - Serbia 15. Association for Progressive Communications – South Africa 16. Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) -Canada 17. Association Transparence et Développement (ATED) – Mauritania 18. Avocats Sans Frontières Network – France 19. Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) – Bahrain 20. Bahrain Human Rights Observatory (BHRO) - Bahrain 21. Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) – United Kingdom 22. Bahrain Rehabilitation & Anti Violence Organization (BRAVO) - Bahrain 23. Bahrain Salam for Human Rights – United Kingdom 24. Baidarie Pakistan – Pakistan 25. Belgrade Center for Human Rights - Serbia 26. Bishkek Feminist Collective SQ – Krygzistan 27. Building More Future Opportunities and Capacities (BMFOCA) – Nigeria 28. Burundi Child Rights Coalition (BCRC)– Burundi 29. Bytes for All – Pakistan 30. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) - Egypt 31. Campaign Against Ignorance & Illiteracy (CAII) - Nigeria 32. Cambodia Center for Human Rights (CCHR) – Cambodia 33. Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) – Canada 34. Center for Peace Education - USA 35. Center for National and International Studies (CNIS) – Azerbaijan 36. Center International Training for Human Rights and Development – Democratic Republic of the Congo 37. Center of studies on Justice and Resolution of 1325 – Democratic Republic of the Congo 38. Charity and Security Network - USA 39. Citizens for Democratic Rights in Eritrea – United Kingdom 40. Civic Initiatives – Serbia 41. CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation - South Africa 42. Civil Rights Defenders - Sweden 43. Coalition pour le Development et la Rehabiniltation Social (CODR UBUNTU) – Burundi 44. Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) – South Sudan 45. Concertation Nationale de la Société Civile du Togo (CNSC Togo) - Togo 46. Corporación de Investigación y Acción Social y Económica (CIASE) – Colombia 47. Counseling Center for Transgender People Association – Turkey 48. Danish PEN – Denmark 49. Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN) – Philippines 50. Democracy Monitor – Azerbaijan 51. Diverse Voices and Action for Equality - Fiji 52. East and Horn of African Human Rights Defenders Project - Uganda 53. Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms – Egypt 54. Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) - Egypt 55. Elma7rosa Network for Advocacy Media& Arts - Egypt 56. English PEN – UK 57. Ethiopian Human Rights Project - Ethiopia 58. European-Bahraini Organisation for Human Rights (EBOHR) – Switzerland 59. European Women’s Lobby – Belgium 60. European Saudi Organizations for Human Rights - Germany 61. Federation of African Muslim Women in America (FAMWA) – USA 62. Families of Desaparecidos for Justice - Philippines 63. Foundation of The Victims Of Abduction And Forced Disappearance (FVAFD) – Egypt 64. Fontaine-ISOKO for Good Governance and Integrated Development- Burundi 65. Freedom International – Ghana 66. FIDH, within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, France 67. Freedom House – USA 68. Freedom Now - USA 69. Frontline Defenders – Ireland 70. Ghanaian Centre of PEN International - Ghana 71. Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP) –USA 72. Groupe des Experts Nationaux - Madagascar 73. Gulf Civil Society Association Forum - Kuwait 74. Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) - Lebanon 75. Helsinki Citizen’s Assembly – Turkey 76. Human Rights Center "Viasna" – Belarus 77. Human Rights Concern Eritrea – United Kingdom 78. Humanist Institute for Development Cooperation (HIVOS) – Netherlands 79. International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran – USA 80. International Centre for supporting Rights and Freedoms (ICSRF) - Egypt 81. International Commission of Jurists – Switzerland 82. International Pen, San Miguel Chapter – Mexico 83. International Service for Human Rights - Switzerland 84. International Solidarity Network Women Living Under Muslim Laws - USA 85. International Youth Human Rights Movement – Russia 86. Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) – UK 87. Lualua Centre for Human Rights(LCHR) - Lebanon 88. Justice for Iran (JFI) – United Kingdom 89. KAOS GL – Turkey 90. Karapatan Alliance - Philippines 91. Khiam Rehabilitation Center For Victims of Torture – Lebanon 92. Kitgum Women Peace Initiative (KIWEPI) - Uganda 93. Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (YUCOM) – Serbia 94. Ligue des Droits de la personne dans la région des Grands Lacs (LDGL) – Democratic Republic of Congo 95. Ligue Algerienne Pour la Defense des Droits de l (LADDH) - Algeria 96. Maharat Foundation – Lebanon 97. Martin Ennals Foundation – Switzerland 98. MENA Monitoring Group - Tunisia 99. Middle East Democracy (POMED) – USA 100. Mpalabanda - Associacao Civica de Cabinda - Angola 101. Movimiento Amplio de Mujeres de Puerto Rico – USA 102. Monitoring of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia – Saudi Arabia 103. Muslim Women’s Research and Action Forum – Sri Lanka 104. Nasra for Feminist Studies – Egypt 105. New Bakkah Foundation – Switzerland 106. National Lawyers Guild - USA 107. National Organization for Defending Rights and Freedoms - Yemen 108. National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) – Somalia 109. No Peace Without Justice – Italy 110. World Organisation Against Torture, within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders – Switzerland 111. Pacific Feminist SRHR Coalition – Australia 112. Palestinian Conflict Resolution / Transformation Center – Palestine 113. PEN Center – Nicaragua 114. PEN American Center – USA 115. PEN International - USA 116. PEN International Women Writers Committee – Egypt 117. Policy Center – Serbia 118. Pusat Komas - Malaysia 119. Reporters sans frontières (RSF) - France 120. Réseau des Défenseurs des Droits Humains en Afrique Centrale (REDHAC) – Cameroon 121. Right Defenders Lawyers & Consultants (RDLC) – Pakistan 122. Red Umbrella Sexual Health and Human Rights Association - Turkey 123. Shia Rights Watch - USA 124. Social And Human Development Consultative Groups (SAHDCG) – Sudan 125. South African Centre of PEN International –South Africa 126. Synergie des Femmes pour les Victimes de Violences Sexuelle – Democratic Republic of the Congo 127. Secularism Is a Women’s Issue – UK 128. Society of Former Political Prisoners Against Arrest and Detention in the Philippines – Philippines 129. South Sudan Law Society (SSLS) – South Sudan 130. Synergie des Associations Feminines du Congo - Democratic Republic of the Congo 131. Swiss Italian PEN – Switzerland 132. Tanzania Human rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC) – Tanzania 133. Teso Women Peace Activists (TEWPA) - Uganda 134. The Training Nest - Sri Lanka 135. Three Cities Foundation – Malta 136. Trans-der – Turkey 137. Transparency International – Bangladesh 138. Ucan Supurge Women’s Association – Turkey 139. Treatment Advocacy and Literacy Campaign (TALC) – Zambia 140. Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights - USA 141. Un Ponte Per- Italy 142. Union Nacional de Instituciones para el trabajo de accion Social – Bolivia 143. Vivarta - UK 144. West African Human Rights Defenders Network (WAHRDN) - Togo 145. Women NGO Secretariat of Liberia (WONGOSOL) – Liberia 146. Women Peace Initiatives-Uganda (WOPI-U) - Uganda 147. Women and Allies Peace Builders Network – Burundi 148. Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR) – Philippines 149. Women’s Resource Center – Pakistan 150. Women’s Solidarity Fund – UK 151. World Movement for Democracy - USA 152. Zambia Council for Social Development (ZCSD) – Zambia 153. Zeugmadi LGBT- Turkey 154. Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum – Zimbabwe 155. 1325 Policy Group – Sweden Cc: Mr. Tom MacDonald, Ambassador of Canada to Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Bahrain and Oman The Honourable John Baird, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs

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