Posts Tagged ‘Maryam Abdulhadi al-Khawaja’

Abdulhadi al-Khawaja goes on hunger strike after ban on family calls

November 17, 2021

Jailed Bahraini human rights defender Abdulhadi al-Khawaja has started a hunger strike after being informed that he has been banned from receiving calls from family, his daughter Zaynab said on Tuesday 16 November 2021.

My father, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, has started a hunger strike today. The prison administration informed him that he is not allowed to make any calls. Having had no visitation rights for the past two years, these calls were his only communication with us,” Zaynab al-Khawaja wrote on Twitter.

Khawaja, who turned 60 in April, is a prominent human rights defender and the former president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights. He has been in prison for 10 years, serving a life sentence for “organising and managing a terrorist organisation”, among other charges. See: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/laureates/4d45e316-c636-4d02-852d-7bfc2b08b78d

His case was one of the first high-profile arrests following the beginning of pro-democracy protests in 2011 that sparked a widespread government crackdown in Bahrain. Tens of thousands of people poured out onto the streets at the time, calling for democratic reforms, an end to discrimination against the majority Shia Muslim population and, eventually, the end of the 245-year rule of the Khalifa monarchy.

Mary Lawlor, the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, has called for the release of Khawaja on his 60th birthday, but her calls have been unheeded. See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2020/04/24/martin-ennals-award-laureates-rally-to-demand-freedom-for-their-imprisoned-fellow-award-winners/

“He’s serving a life sentence in prison for peacefully defending the rights of others,” Lawlor said.  

Earlier this year, Khawaja’s other daughter, Maryam, told Middle East Eye that his family’s access to him had been sporadic.

You can never expect what’s going to happen; you might have a call this week but then next week there isn’t a call. So nothing is ever set in stone,” she said during an interview in February.

Maryam has herself become one of the most prominent voices internationally for the Bahraini democracy movement. It’s a profile that has forced her to live in exile due to a sentence she received in absentia for allegedly assaulting a police officer.

What we see today is what you could call a stalemate, but it goes beyond that because it’s a situation that cannot continue the way that is it. There is absolute control over everything with regards to public space, access to freedoms and so on,” she said at the time.

A report compiled in February by the London-based campaign group Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy for the 10th anniversary of the uprising said that, since 2011, at least 51 people had been sentenced to death in Bahrain.

According to the report, mass trials have become “commonplace” in the country, with 167 people sentenced in a single day in February 2019. Hundreds of activists have seen their citizenship stripped by the kingdom, with an estimated 300 currently denaturalised.

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/bahrain-jailed-activist-abdulhadi-khawaja-hunger-strike-ban-family-calls

Hear and read about women human rights defenders under threat

April 3, 2015
If you want to hear rather than read about women human rights defenders, go to the podcast of 2 April 2015 organized by  and  for the Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/audio/2015/apr/02/women-human-rights-defenders-podcast
Twenty years after the Beijing Platform made promising pronouncements, it is sobering to hear from women human rights defenders who are under attack for their work:
  • Daysi Flores, JASS Honduras country director, talks about the situation in Honduras, where the imprisonment of Gladys Lanza, one of the country’s most respected feminists, marks a fresh low.
  • Nimalka Fernando, president of the International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism in Sri Lanka, talks about the misogynist attacks that she has faced.
  • Maryam Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, co-director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, looks at the situation for women in Bahrain.
  • Khouloud Mahdhaoui, a human rights activist in Tunisia, discusses LGBT attacks in her home country.
  • Phumzile Mlambo Nguka, the executive director of UN Women, explains how the wave of extremism around the world has affected anyone standing up for women’s rights.
  • Tania Branigan, the Guardian’s China correspondent, talks about the five women who were arrested in the days before International Women’s Day in China, over their plans to highlight sexual harassment.

In the same vein is the following statement: Statement of Caribbean women, women’s organizations and other civil society organizations on the occasion of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) 59, Beijing + 20 – Stabroek News – Georgetown, Guyana.

see also: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/tag/women-human-rights-defenders/