FRONT LINE ACTIONS

Solidarity

On 23 March, Front Line Defenders staff joined a global week of solidarity for Bahraini human rights defender Nabeel Rajab, who is currently serving a two-year prison term, punished for exercising his freedom of expression. The event took place in downtown Dublin, part of a day when events were organized in cities around the world, see: Nabeel Rajab Supporters.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS

From 20-30 November, Front Line Defenders was in Bahrain as part of an international delegation. During that time, a number of HRDs were interviewed about their experiences since February 2011. These videos feature doctors, teachers, defenders and family members going in depth into some of the difficulties they face, and the struggles they are dealing with in Bahrain. Click on the image to the left to get to the Front Line Defenders You Tube playlist for Bahraini HRDs.

PROTEST

Vincent Forest, Head of EU Office for Front Line Defenders, joined the Solidarity Protest for Freedom in Bahrain on 14 February 2013 in Brussels, holding a sign calling for freedom for Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, Nabeel Rajab and other imprisoned human rights defenders.

BLOGGING

Recent blog posts by Front Line Defenders Director Mary Lawlor and Deputy Director Andrew Anderson highlight the maltreatment, torture and unfair trial suffered by Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja as he continues on his hunger strike for freedom in Bahrain. Mary and Andrew reflect on the price that freedom has for their friend and former colleague.

TESTIMONY

On Wednesday, February 15th (6th Day of Hunger Strike), Front Line Defenders Director Mary Lawlor and Deputy Director Andrew Anderson gave testimony at the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade at the Irish Houses of the Oireachtas (parliament), including information about Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja and the cases of the medical professionals.

INVESTIGATE

From 20-30 November, Front Line Defenders joined an international delegation of human rights organizations to investigate the situation of human rights defenders and freedom of expression in Bahrain. The mission coincided with the release of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) report and a representative from Front Line Defenders was in attendance when the report was delivered to the King of Bahrain. The delegation met with human rights defenders, lawyers, doctors, teachers and families of detained HRDs. Additionally, Front Line Defenders representative was able to visit briefly with former staff member Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja during his visit with family members the day before the release of the BICI report (blog from the field). The delegation report in (English) and (Arabic) specifies 11 recommendations to the government of Bahrain.

PROTEST

On 15 September, over 130 Human Rights Defenders from over 80 countries who were attending the Front Line Defenders 6th Dublin Platform protested in front of the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Dublin.  Mary Lawlor, Director of Front Line Defenders, and Syrian human rights efender Haithem Al Maleh delivered a letter of protest to the Saudi Ambassador.  The group then got on buses and drove up to the building on St. Stephen’s Square in downtown Dublin featuring the Free Abdulhadi banner.

SOLIDARITY

On 7 September, a group of Irish medics launched a rolling solidarity fast in support of their imprisoned colleagues in Bahrain.  Professor Damian McCormack, who led an independent delegation to Bahrain in July, which included Front Line Defenders Deputy Director Andrew Anderson, announced the solidarity action in front of Dublin’s Spire monument.

REPORT

Front Line Defenders organized a presentation by three Bahraini human rights activists at the Mansion House in Dublin on 12 September, which was hosted by the Lord Mayor of Dublin.  Speakers gave an update on the situation facing their imprisoned colleagues in Bahrain, and spoke of personal experiences of facing severe repression by the government of Bahrain.

BRIEFING

Front Line Defenders issued a briefing on 7 July on the trial and case against Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, detailing the shortcomings with respect to fair trial standards, use of torture and unnecessary force, incommunicadeo detention and the overall legitimacy of the National Safety Court.

APPEAL

Front Line Defenders launched an Open Letter to the King of Bahrain on 7 July on behalf of medical professionals who were arrested and prosecuted for providing medical care for civilian protesters.  As of 1 October, more than 2,350 signatures had been collected.

INVESTIGATE

Andrew Anderson, Deputy Director of Front Line Defenders, joined an independent medical, political and human rights Irish delegation led by Professor Damian McCormack to Bahrain.  The delegation held meetings with Bahraini human rights defenders, families of the detained medical workers and with Bahraini officials. A report on the mission was published in the Irish Examiner.

Irish Senator Averil Power returned from Bahrain and wrote a letter to Ireland's Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore in August and again in September. Later in September, Foreign Minister Gilmore responded with this letter.

WITNESS

In June, Mary Lawlor, Director of Front Line Defenders, traveled to Bahrain in an attempt to testify at the trial of Abdulhadi and to visit with the families of the detained medical workers.  Read Mary’s blog here.

Andrew Anderson, Deputy Director, made an emergency visit to Bahrain following Abdulhadi’s arrest in April.  Andrew wrote about the case in the Irish Examiner.

SUPPORT

On 21 April, 12 days after Abdulhadi was arrested from his home, 121 Human Rights Defenders from across the Middle East and North Africa region issued a statement of support for him.