Issued by Ruth Stark, IFSW Human Rights Commissioner:
In February 2011, thousands of Bahrainis took the streets to peacefully call for democracy, freedom, and political reforms as part of a broader movement in the Middle East. The authorities in Bahrain responded with a violent and brutal crackdown that resulted in dozens of deaths, hundreds of injuries, and thousands of arbitrary arrests. Since then, the government has only continued to crack down on human rights by the recently criminalizing the rights to freedom of assembly, association, and speech, while fostering a culture of impunity for human rights abusers. Arbitrary detention and torture continue unabated, while the government reduces the sentences of convicted human rights offenders.
Among those arbitrarily arrested and tortured was Mr. Abdulwahab Hussain, a 58-year-old social worker, school counsellor, and retired social studies teacher. Mr. Hussain was arrested on March 17, 2011 for his association with the non-violent protest movement, in violation of the internationally recognized rights to freedom of expression and association. Mr. Hussain, who suffers from a chronic neurological disorder, has consistently been denied medical treatment while in detention and has been held in solitary confinement since his arrest three years ago.
As members of the social work profession, we work every day to promote social change, utilize problem solving techniques within human relationships, and to empower and liberate people to enhance their well-being. We cannot stand idly by as a fellow social worker languishes behind bars simply for exercising the most basic of human rights. As we come together to mark World Social Work Day, we call on the Government of Bahrain to abide by its international human rights commitments and approve the unconditional release of Mr. Hussain.
Want to lend your voice to help Social Worker Abdulwahab Hussain? Please send a letter to the King of Bahrain demanding the immediate and unconditional release of Mr. Hussain.