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Shia Weekly News #37

Week of 10/18/15

Pakistan

In a deadly incident this week, 10 Shia Muslims were killed and 20 were wounded in the town of Bhaag in the Baluchistan province of Pakistan. On Thursday October 22nd, a bomb was detonated at a Shia mosque while dozens of mosque goers were present. Of the 10 Shia Muslims were killed, six of them were children. This wave of violence occurred during the month of Muharram, where Shia Muslims commemorate the death of Imam Hussain, the grandson of the prophet Muhammad.

Mosque bombings, while a periodic occurrence in Pakistan, had subsided during the last two to three months but this incident could signal a deadly resurgence of violence against the minority group.

Iran

On October 16th, yet another attack occurred against Shia mourners at Ashura gatherings. Two young men were killed in a drive by shooting at an Ashura festival in the south-western province of Khuzestan around 11pm. Hossein Karimi Yeganeh (28), and Bahmn Rezaie (25) were shot and killed by the assailants, and two others were injured.

No group has yet to claim responsibility for this attack but it came hours after a deadly shooting in Qatif City in Saudi Arabia where five Shia mourners were killed. The attack in Qatif City was claimed by the Islamic State and it is possible that there is a connection between the two events. Shia Rights Watch will continue to follow updates from these incidents and will provide any information that emerges.

Saudi Arabia

On Friday, October 21, 2015, anti-Shia committed yet another atrocity when a gunman affiliated with the group shot and killed five Shia at a Muharram gathering in the Saihat area of Qatif City. After shooting the mourners, the assailant was shot and killed by Saudi police. Later, a group calling itself the Islamic State-Bahrain state would claim responsibility for the attack. The group stated that one of their soldiers attacked Shia infidels and that “infidels would not be safe in the island of Muhammad”.

Shia Muslims have been a regular target of ISIS as they are deemed as heretics or infidels by the extremist group. Bombings, shootings, and hateful propaganda have been disseminating throughout the Middle East by the group. Shia Rights Watch strongly condemns this deplorable action by the group and will continue to track its anti-Shiism to expose it to the international community. Unfortunately, until the international community comes together to combat these actions, these events will continue.

Bahrain

On Tuesday October 21st, Bahraini Security Forces launched a fierce crackdown on Shia mourners during Ashura festivals. Bahraini security forces were spotted pulling down Ashura banners, claiming that they were erected in “undesignated areas”. In response to these actions, Shia mourners began protesting the security forces, to which the security forces responded by firing buckshots at the crowd in an attempt to disperse them.

Shia Rights Watch condemns the actions of the Bahraini Security forces as a violation of the freedom of expression and the freedom of religion of the Shia majority. The month of Muharram is a solemn moment for Shia Muslims and they should be able to commemorate such a moment without fear of obstruction.

Iraq

Regular bombings have continued throughout Shia neighborhoods in Iraq, leading to the death of at least 48 Shia and the injury of at least 30. Most of these attacks have come through IEDs in Shia areas of Baghdad. The largest such attack occurred on October 20th when IEDs accompanied by gunfire killed 12 Shia Muslims in Baghdad. No group has taken responsibility for these attacks but the attacks a apart of a series of attacks against Shia Muslims in the country, many of which have been perpetrated by ISIS.

India

In Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir, hundreds of Shia mourners were shot with tear gas when their procession was interrupted by Indian authorities. Shia mourners were restricted from the Jahangir Chowk area and once they were there, authorities fired teargas shells at them. Indian authorities stated that they took these actions because they didn’t want to incite protests by Shia mourners over the death of a Kashmiri trucker who was killed in a bomb attack.

Shia Rights Watch condemns the restriction of the free movement and free expression of Shia mourners. As the world’s largest democratic country, there needs to be greater respect for the expression of religious minorities.

Indonesia

In Indonesia, a country with a violent history of anti-Shiism, has witnessed a flaring of this hatred this week. A compound hosting at least 30 asylum seekers from Afghanistan in the town of Yogyakarta was stormed by an anti-Shia mob. The asylum seekers decorated they compound they were staying in with Ashura banners to commemorate the death of Imam Hussain and once the anti-Shia group heard about this, dozens of men stored the compound. Once the group entered the compound they ordered the group to leave the neighborhood because they were “proselytizing Shiite teachings”.

Officers in the area were deployed to evacuate the group from this situation where the asylum seekers spent the night at a police station.

Shia Rights Watch condemns the hateful action of this anti-Shia group and urges the local Yogyakarta authorities to work to promote tolerance of both refugees and religious minorities. This country’s anti-Shia history has been a stain on this emerging nation and more needs to be done to promote pluralism throughout the country.

Muharram Breaking News- Attack to Shia Rituals in Iran

Iranian men beat their chest during the Ashura commemorations that mark the killing of Imam Hussein -one of Shiite Islam's most revered figures- on November 4, 2014, in the Iranian capital Tehran. Ashura commemorates the killing of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, by the army of the Caliph Yazid in 680 AD, the formative event in Shiite Islam. AFP PHOTO/ATTA KENARE

 

Two killed and two other injured due to a shooting at a Shia mosque in Iran on Friday October 16th. According to local authorities two masked individuals shut and killed Muharram attendees at the mosque. The gunmen opened fire from a moving car as the worshippers were commemorating Muharram.

The shooting took place in Deszul area of Khuzestan Province. Although Iran is a Shia populated country, Deszul has mixed population of Shia and non-Shia. No one was arrested yet but authorities promised investigating the matter.

Muharram commemorations have always been attacked mostly in non-Shia Islamic states. Iran is a Shia state and it is expected that Shia have more freedom to participate in their rituals. SRW urges the authorities to speed up the investigations and secure Muharram programs.

 

 

UNDP Building inclusive and peaceful societies through women’s participation and leadership: good practices from the field

On October 16th Shia Rights Watch attended the UNDP event entitled “Building Inclusive and Peaceful Societies through Women’s participation and Leadership” at the UN headquarters in New York. Marking the 15th anniversary of UN Resolution 1325, the panel of guests at this event spoke about the progress of women’s inclusion into post conflict peacebuilding efforts.

While progress has been made in the inclusion of women in peacebuilding in the last 15 years, challenges remain in ensuring that this is meaningful participation. After two round of political instability in Kyrgyzstan in 2005 and 2010, efforts to involvement have had nominal success but large gaps still remain between men and women. Women in Kyrgyzstan are largely excluded from public life and it has been hard to overcome this gap do to the responsibilities women hold both at home and in the agricultural sector. One way that NGOs and other stakeholders have been working to increase the influence of women in society is by disseminating images of women participating in politics through mediums that women consume a great deal of such as soap operas.

In Libya, the effort to include women has been incomplete as well. A female human rights activist who was a part of the UN mediated peace process in the country. The activist stated while women were involved in the peace process, they remained excluded at many major points. This essentially rendered their participation ineffective. The activist finished by stating that resolution 1325 has been ineffective for Libyan women and more emphasis needs to be put on meaningful participation for women.

This conversation is an important one for post conflict societies to be having. With qualitative and quantitate data showing a strong and positive relationship between women’s inclusion in peace processes and the effectiveness of those peace process, improving women’s access will have a large effect going forward. As Shia communities around the world work with their states to move past horrendous conflicts, it is important that women from both sides of these hostilities are involved early and often throughout transition periods.

Shia Weekly News #36

Week of 10/11/15

Bahrain

On October 13th, Bahraini Security Forces were spotted removing Ashura banners in the villages of Shahrkan, Al-Malkiya, Sehla, Bu Quwah and Isa Town. In twitter posts that emerged from Bahraini activists, pictures show members of the security forces in the streets with the flags and banners in their hands. This is just the latest form of discrimination displayed by the Bahraini government against the Shia majority in the country. While many Shia activists remained imprisoned, the Bahraini government works to add insult to injury by interfering with the religious expression of this community. The removal of these flags and banners without proper reasoning is a restriction of the expression of religion for Shia Muslims.

Actions by the Bahraini government have become regular occurrences during Muharram as in 2014 Bahraini security forces interrupted a service in a Shia mosque by throwing multiple tear gas canisters inside. This attack was captured on video and posted on YouTube by Shia Rights Watch. The United States Department of State has been notified about the attack last year and is currently investigating it. Shia Rights Watch condemns the limitations placed by the Bahraini government on the free expression of Shia Muslims within their country.

Arms sales by the United States and Western Europe to Bahrain have been a concern for human rights activists for years now and it seems as if the campaign to halt these sales is gaining steam. In the United States, a petition that calls for the government to ban arms sales to Bahrain has gained about 15,000 signatures. The petition entitled “No Weapons For Bahrain” was created by Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain, RootsAction.org Code Pink, and World Beyond War. The petition request that some weapons not be sold and delivered to the Kingdom of Bahrain until certain human rights benchmarks are met.

While the United States Department of State has the power to halt weapons sales to countries if they have a questionable human rights record, many have complained that other interests have been allowed to take precedence over human rights in the country. Shia Rights Watch supports this petition and calls for the halt of arms sales to Bahrain until significant human rights improvements are implemented.

In Bahrain, yet another violation to the right to a fair trial has been revealed as Sheikh Salman was denied the ability to meet with his lawyers. Sheikh Ali Salman is a Shia opposition leader who has been detained for his role in peaceful protests. Since he has been in prison the court and prison administration officials are not allowing him to send or receive notes from his lawyers before his trial. In addition to this, the administration officials have refused to respect the confidentiality between Sheikh Salman and his legal team.

In his own words Sheikh Salman stated “I am a prisoner of conscience who has been denied self-defense and my lawyers have been denied the right to present argument and evidence”. The tampering in the legal defense created an unfair balance between the state and the defendant. This is a clear violation of due process and in turn Shia Rights Watch urges that Sheikh Salman be released immediately.

Sheikh Ali Salman was sentenced to four years of prison last June and he is currently appealing his case.

Update- in an update from Sheikh Ali Salman’s trial in Bahrain, news has emerged that Mohsin Alalwi, a member of the Sheikh’s legal defense team, was removed from the courtroom during proceedings. According to those present at the time of the removal, the Sheikh’s defense panel began to complain before the court about the denial of confidentiality between the Sheikh and themselves. In his statement before the judge Sheikh Salman stated “the international community has looked at my case and the world has disapproved the malicious and politicized charges against me”. In addition he vowed to continue to fight for democracy and freedom by saying “I will continue my peaceful political activism until democracy is achieved. This is my national duty and that brings me to find solutions for the crisis through dialogue”.

Saudi Arabia

On October 5th dozens of Saudi clerics released a statement that praised ISIS by calling them “holy warriors” who are “defending” the Arab country. Also they stated that ISIS should be trusted because should they fall it would mean the fall of “one Sunni country after the other”.

This statement made by the Saudi clerics led to quick condemnation by high level UN officials. Adama Dieng, the UN Secretary General’s special adviser on the prevention of genocide and Jennifer Welsh, the UN special adviser on the responsibility to protect issued a statement that condemned the statement issued by the Saudi clerics and expressed their alarm in the rise of rhetoric that that has been used to incite violence.

Their statement said “such rhetoric can aggravate the already extremely volatile situation in Syria by drawing religiously motivated fighters to join all parties to the conflict, thus escalating the risk of violence against religious communities”

Unfortunately Shia Muslims have been the victims of much of this violence provoking speech. In Iraq and Syria, Shia Muslims are facing nearly daily bombings and that can be traced back to the words of clerics that call them dogs and infidels.

Advancing Women’s Peace and Security: Thailand’s Mission to the UN

On October 15th, Shia Rights Watch attended Thailand’s Mission to the UN’s event entitled “Advancing Women’s Peace and Security” at the UN Headquarters in New York. At this event, the panelists spoke about the importance of the impact that women have on peace processes.

Data, both quantitative and qualitative were employed to see how women impact these peace processes. A growing body of evidence shows that when women are involved heavily throughout the peace process, states are less likely to experience an increasing and continuing conflict. When you measure the presence of women in all forms at peace agreements, there is a positive impact on the duration of peace. Including women in the peace process increased the probability of success at least 20% in the first two years.

During peace processes, women are more likely to speak about human needs. These needs include protection for children, the elderly, stigmatized groups, etc. In a focus group, women would rank the needs of children much higher than men in the group. In addition to this, women would prioritize things such as affordability of goods and the availability of jobs. Lastly, this focus group was able to determine that when women are empowered in discussions determining the setup of a nation, the social safety net is increased by 50%.

The statements presented at this event were enlightening and provided a glimpse into the intricacies of peace processes. While this is important for the countries overcoming traumatic periods, it is even more important for ethnic and religious minorities that are seeking greater protection in the states they are living in.

A Rose for Peace

A Rose for Peace Campaign- 2015

A Rose for Peace is a campaign designed in response to the anti-Islam protest titled Global Rally for Humanity. As many are planning to gather in front of number of mosques in US cities to express their hatred towards American Muslims, Shia Rights Watch and Muslim Women Network of South California get together to spread Islam’s peace message through rose distributions in the heart of Washington DC.
The campaign is planned for Monday October 12th at Farragut Square Park located at 17th Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20006. Join us at noon to be part of this peaceful campaign.

 

Shia Weekly News #35

Week of October 4, 2015

Shia Rights Watch Alert: Global Rally for Humanity

For Immediate Release- 09 October 2015- Shia Rights Watch would like to issue an alert for American Muslims during the nationwide mosque protests that are a part of the Global Rally for Humanity. As freedom of speech is oppositions’ rights, freedom of religion is ours.

At SRW, we invite all Muslims to express the spirit of acceptance and respect that during these hard times and urge them to not get involved in any violence. Mosque leaders are advised to seek police help if needed and prioritize safety of their community as well as the oppositions.

Iraq

Deadly attacks have continued against Shia Muslims in Iraq this week. On October 5th at least 51 people were killed and 120 were injured by a series of car bombs that detonated around the country according to Iraqi police.

The first attack occurred in the Shia majority town of Khalis which is roughly 50 miles northeast of Baghdad. According to the local police captain, the assailant requested from police that he park his vehicle in front of a crowded market in order that he may buy medication from a nearby pharmacy. When granted permission, the assailant left the car and it would detonate five minutes later. The exact casualty figures from this explosion are not known.

A second explosion would occur in the town of Al-Zubair which is 9 miles southwest of the southern town of Basra. Like the first, this car bombing took place outside of a crowded market. In this attack ten people were killed and 30 were injured.

The final bombing this day occurred in the Hussainiya district of northern Baghdad. While not much is known about the situation surrounding the bombing, it is known that at least 11 people were killed and 30 were injured.

In addition to these bombings, attacks such as these occur every day in Shia neighborhoods around Iraq. Some are reported and some, unfortunately, are not. While no group has taken responsibility for the wave of attacks this week in Iraq, many suspect it is the work of ISIS which has taken responsibility for scores of similar attacks in recent months.

Saudi Arabia

In what has become an unfortunate series of monthly news coming out of Saudi Arabia, yet another death sentence was handed down the by courts to a Shia human rights activist. On October 8th, the British advocacy group Reprieve revealed that a Saudi courted upheld the death sentence for Dawoud Hussain al-Marhoon for his connection to protests in the country’s eastern province in 2012. Arrested at the age of 17, Al-Marhoon has been subjected to unfair legal proceedings and now a cruel sentence for exercising a right of his.

In Reprieve’s statement, they noted that the trial of Al-Marhood was filled with irregularities as he “was sentenced after a number of secret hearings took place without the presence of his lawyer, who was also blocked from receiving information about appeal hearings”.

Shia Rights Watch condemns this trial and sentence as illegitimate due to its gross violations of due process and its disproportionate punishment. These proceedings violate Article 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states “everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations of any criminal charge against him”. This declaration, which Saudi Arabia is a party to, has been recognized by many as obtaining the status of customary international law, meaning it is binding upon all states.

Saudi Arabia continues to blatantly violate international human rights norms in the face of the international community with impunity. It is time that the Kingdom be held accountable for its action. Dawoud Hussain al-Marhoon must be released along with the remaining prisoners of conscience in the country.

Yemen

While mosque bombings have been regular occurrences in countries such as Pakistan and Iraq, it seems as if this trend has reached Yemen. This time ISIS has detonated a suicide bomb inside of the al-Nour Mosque in the northern Nahda district of the country.

In this attack the assailant, wearing a suicide vest, walked into the mosque and detonated himself, killing seven people.

ISIS has declared itself to be fighting the Houthi militia group in Yemen but has been regularly bombing Shia mosques in the area stating that this is because they are Houthi strongholds. This reasoning rests on faulty logic because it essentially equates all Shia in the country with the Houthis, which is far from the truth. Seondly, civilian targets should be avoided at all costs during armed conflict by all parties.

Shia Rights Watch condemns these horrific attacks by ISIS in the country and calls for the immediate peaceful settlement of the conflict raging in the area.

30 Article of the International Bill of Human Rights

30 Article of the International Bill of Human Rights

Article 1.

  • All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2.

  • Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Article 3.

  • Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 4.

  • No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Article 5.

  • No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 6.

  • Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

Article 7.

  • All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

Article 8.

  • Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

Article 9.

  • No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Article 10.

  • Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

Article 11.

  • (1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
  • (2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

Article 12.

  • No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Article 13.

  • (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
  • (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

Article 14.

  • (1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
  • (2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 15.

  • (1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.
  • (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

Article 16.

  • (1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
  • (2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
  • (3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

Article 17.

  • (1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
  • (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

Article 18.

  • Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 19.

  • Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Article 20.

  • (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
  • (2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

Article 21.

  • (1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
  • (2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.
  • (3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

Article 22.

  • Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

 Article 23.

  • (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
  • (2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
  • (3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
  • (4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

Article 24.

  • Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.

Article 25.

  • (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
  • (2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

Article 26.

  • (1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
  • (2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
  • (3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

Article 27.

  • (1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
  • (2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

Article 28.

  • Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.

Article 29.

  • (1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.
  • (2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
  • (3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 30.

  • Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.

 

UN Women for Peace

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[highlight color=”yellow”]10/06/2015[/highlight]

On Tuesday October 6th, Shia Rights Watch attended a United Nations Meeting of delegates and NGOs on the plight of Yezidi women under ISIS. This event, held by the UN Women for Peace Alliance, discussed the current condition of Yezidi women in ISIS-held territories. The speakers at this event included an Iraqi professor and journalist who used his connections in the country to help coordinate the escape of Yezidi women, a group of filmmakers who recently concluded a documentary on Yezidi abductees, and a Yezidi woman who was a former captive of ISIS.

Each of the speakers at the event mentioned three requests of the Yezidi community to the international community. These requests were the safe return of captured Yezidi women, the provision of services to escaped Yezidi women, and the ability to return to their homeland and live in safety away from the threat of ISIS.

Shia Rights Watch joins the community of human rights activists gathered at the UN on Tuesday to condemn the actions of ISIS and further declare their actions against ethnic and religious minorities as genocide.

Mandela Rules on the Treatment of Prisoners

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[highlight color=”yellow”]10/07/2015[/highlight]

On October 7th Shia Rights Watch attended a high-level UN event on the implementation of the Mandela Rules on the Treatment of Prisoners. The Mandela Rules are a revision of the 1955 Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. These non-binding guidelines for how states treat their prisoners had not been updated since it implementation by the United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders.

Some important revisions to the Standard Minimum Rules are provisions for the prohibition of torture, and the improvement of health conditions for detainees. UN officials stated that one of the purposes of these revised rules was to ensure that despite the fact that people lose their liberty when they enter prison, they should not lose their dignity. For example, despite the fact that one may be detained, the Mandela Rules state that prisoners are entitled to the same state of health care as people in the community. This is especially true for diseases such as HIV and Tuberculosis.

The revision on the Standard Minimum Rules is an important milestone for criminal justice reform. In many places around the world, prison conditions fall well below the standards set before the 1955 standard minimum rules. This applies to Shia Muslims in Bahrain who have been arbitrarily arrested and are forced to endure well horrible prison conditions for years. Shia Rights Watch will continue to advocate for the improvement of prison conditions around the world while continuing to call for the release of prisoners of conscience detained under oppressive regimes.

UN Complaint