[The following statement was issued by the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights on 7 November 2012.]
The Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR) and the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) express their grave concern over the King of Bahrain’s decision to revoke Bahraini citizenship from thirty-one individuals. This move is reminiscent of past government crackdowns in the 1980s, when the past Emir, Salman bin Isa AlKhalifa, revoked the citizenship of a number of citizens. A cyber vigilante known by the twitter account @7areghum (which is reportedly linked to the Bahraini authorities) wrote the names of 31 individuals whose citizenships have been revoked. Twenty minutes later the official Bahrain News Agency published the same list on their website.
The BYSHR and the BCHR express grave concern over the systematic targeting of prominent political activists, former members of parliament, clerics, and others. The Bahraini authorities did not provide substantial evidence as to why these individuals` citizenships have been revoked, nor has the government issued a formal notification that their citizenship has been revoked prior to the press release on BNA.
It is apparent that the actions taken by the Bahraini authorities to revoke the citizenships of thirty-one individuals is intended to punish them for expressing peaceful dissent and thereby intimidate others from exercising their right to freedom of expression. This comes at a time when the crackdown in Bahrain by the authorities is intensifying and, in light of continued international inaction, will continue to deteriorate.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: "no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of [their] nationality." In depriving these Bahrainis of their nationality for exercising their right to peaceful expression, the Bahrain authorities have disproportionately enacted punitive measures against its citizens, leaving them stateless and thereby issuing arbitrary dispossessions of nationality.
The BYSHR and the BCHR call the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Nations, and all other close allies to Bahrain and international institutions to put pressure on the Bahrain authorities to:
- Reverse this provocative decision and to further allow all citizens of Bahrain to freely exercise their right to freedom of expression.
- Immediately stop the systematic and widespread human rights violations against the citizens of Bahrain
[Click here to view the list of people whose citizenship has been revoked.]