Sunday, September 25, 2011

Bahrain: Reinstate Ousted Students, Faculty

Hundreds Dismissed for Peaceful Dissent

Human Rights Watch
September 24, 2011

"(New York) – Universities in Bahrain should immediately reinstate all students, faculty, and staff who were dismissed solely for expressing opinions critical of the government and ruling family or attending overwhelmingly peaceful anti-government demonstrations in February and March of this year, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch also called on the University of Bahrain to stop requiring students to sign oaths of loyalty to the ruling Al Khalifa family and the government as a condition for enrollment.

The University of Bahrain, the country’s largest higher education institution, dismissed at least 100 faculty and staff between April and August, in most cases for attending anti-government demonstrations or posting links on social media, Human Rights Watch said. Since May, university staff and, in some cases, Education Ministry officials or police have interrogated hundreds of students, and more than 500 were suspended for a semester or expelled. The new semester begins September 25, 2011.

“Bahraini authorities have punished students and professors – along with thousands of other Bahrainis – simply for exercising their right to criticize the government,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Attacking students and professors who dare to dissent flagrantly violates their right to freedom of opinion and expression.”....."

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