Human Lives Human Rights: The last parliamentary elections held in Bahrain in 2018 were widely seen as undemocratic, unfree, and unfair.
Government of Bahrain refused to allow outside observers to monitor the 2018 elections. The next parliamentary elections are scheduled to be held in Bahrain in November 2022.
“Conditions in Bahrain at the present time make free and fair elections impossible,” said Husain Abdulla, Executive Director of Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain.
“Unless conditions improve quickly, the 2022 elections will again be a sham perpetrated by the Government of Bahrain on the Bahraini people and any façade of democracy in Bahrain will end,” he added.
Independent human rights monitoring organizations have catalogued a long list of egregious human rights abuse and anti-democratic practices by the Government of Bahrain.
Opposition political leaders in Bahrain are in prison, opposition parties have been banned, the free media has been shuttered, freedom of expression and assembly have been severely curtailed – including online expressions like Twitter -, and candidates must be approved by the Government. Torture and arbitrary detention are common.
Rights groups call on the Government of Bahrain to:
- Unconditionally release all political prisoners, including opposition leader Hasan Mushaima, human rights defender Abdulhadi Alkhawaja, and academic Dr. Abduljalil Alsingace.
- Pardon all political prisoners who have been released under the alternative sentencing program and remove all restrictions on their civil, political, economic, and social rights.
- Allow opposition parties – including those currently banned — to operate without conditions.
Begin a meaningful dialogue with the political opposition about promotion of democratic institutions in Bahrain.
- Place no preconditions on who may run for parliamentary seats – particularly, the government should have no say in vetting and approving candidates.
- Allow free media, remove restrictions on freedom of expression, including on social media, and permit freedom of assembly.
- Allow independent international monitors to observe the election.
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