APPG speaks out on Bahrain’s clampdown on Shias

In a media release issued today the APPG for International Freedom of Religion or Belief expressed deep concern about the revocation of citizenship from Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim, the most senior Shia religious figure in Bahrain, and continuing discrimination against the Shia community in Bahrain.

The All Party Group also expressed concern about the ongoing forced suspension of imam-led prayers in Shia mosques, initially implemented on Friday, and understands this to be a flagrant violation of Article 18 of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

The Group understands this act by the Bahrain Government to be a major escalation in a worrying trend of discrimination against the majority Shia Bahraini community on the grounds of religion or belief.

The Group joins with the UN, UK Sunni and Shia leaders and others in urging authorities to seek a de-escalation of the situation.

Since 2014 as many as 250 individuals have had their citizenship revoked, but this most recent move has sparked protests, increased tension between Bahrain and Iran and has been widely reported to have triggered an increase in sectarian tensions across the country.

The All Party Group condemns all violations of freedom of religion or belief and encourages all sides to take peaceful steps in the region to improve stability and promote human rights, including the right to freedom of religion or belief, enshrined and signed by Bahrain under international law.

UK Sunni and Shia leaders have also condemned the harassment of spiritual leader Ayatollah Isa Qassim of Bahrain – Read their statement.