Geneva - Governments in the Arab Gulf states continue to control, prosecute and arrest human rights activists and political opponents active in social media, especially in the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Bahrain, said the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor in an oral statement before the UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday.
Despite persistent calls from international institutions and human rights organizations, the UAE government continues to crack down on social media activists through the use of strict surveillance systems. Protesters against the human rights situation in the country are chased and detained, said Asiato Dialo of L'Association d'Entraide Médicale Guinée.
Similarly, the Government in Bahrain continues its aggressive campaign against social media activists, jailing and torturing those calling for reform to the political system. Calls for protection of public freedoms are met with detention and arrest, added Dialo.
The penal laws in these countries provide for a wide array of interpretation, which makes it easy to punish anyone criticizing the government.
Since 2011, courts in the UAE and Bahrain have sentenced over 60 human rights activists to high prison terms, and in some cases, activists have been sentenced to life imprisonment. They have also been fined on trumped-up charges and unfair trials, stated Dialo.
The two organizations concluded their statement by calling on the Council and its member states to pressure the Governments of the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Bahrain to fulfill their international obligations, pledge not to pursue opinion activists, release detainees on the basis of political or human rights activism, and to amend laws allowing the executive authority to take unjustified measures against civilians.