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STOCKHOLM - Skyline welcomes the rejection of the member states of the Executive Council of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to elect a representative of the Kingdom of Bahrain for the position of Secretary General of the International Organization.

In a press release, Skyline said that it had sent several messages to member states prior to the vote, urging them to refrain from electing "Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa", head of the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities, due to Bahrain's poor human rights record.

Skyline appreciates that member states of the UNWTO responded to its demands by rejecting electing a candidate from Bahrain to head the organization at a time when Bahrain violates human rights and suppresses  public freedoms.

Bahrain's candidate won only eight votes against 25 votes received by Zawarib Polikashvili from Georgia, who was elected to the position.

Skyline has contacted the member states of World Tourism Organization to assert they observe human rights violations in Bahrain since the outbreak of the Arab Spring in 2011.

In its messages to the organization, Skyline pointed out that Journalists, activists, editors, lawyers, and ordinary citizens are suffering from repression, harassment, and detention for expressing their opinions, even on social media.

"It is essential to shed light on such incidents and human rights violations occurring in Bahrain to help Bahraini people enjoy a good atmosphere of freedom of expression in the future," said Skyline.

Skyline further stated that journalists, activists, editors, lawyers, and ordinary citizens are suffering from repression, harassment, and detention for expressing their opinions, even on social media.

In addition, Skyline pointed out that, in 2020, Bahrain escalated its suppression of online and social media activity and prosecuted several public figures solely for their posts on social media, including prominent lawyers Abdullah Al Shamlawi and Abdullah Hashim.

Moreover, Skyline said that "in May 2019, the Interior Ministry declared that it would prosecute people who follow “inciting accounts” or share their posts on Twitter".

The International Foundation highlighted that the Bahraini authorities deliberately suppressed any criticism made by opponents and citizens regarding  the formal-relations agreement established between Israel and Bahrain in mid-September 2020

The last report published in Human rights Watch in 2021 indicated that Bahrain’s situation did not improve in 2020. The Bahrain authorities continued campaigns of arrests, prosecutions and harassment against human rights defenders, journalists, dissidents or defense lawyers.

No independent media have operated in Bahrain since the Information Affairs Ministry suspended Al Wasat, the country’s only independent newspaper, in 2017. Foreign journalists rarely have access to Bahrain, and Human Rights Watch and other rights groups are routinely denied access. International wire services, when they cover Bahrain, do so from Dubai or elsewhere outside the country. Currently, Six journalists are imprisoned.

Accordingly, Skyline raised concerns over the conditions and fate of thirteen dissidents in Bahraini jails, who are serving lengthy prison terms since their arrest in 2011 for their roles in pro-democracy demonstrations. Among them: Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, a founder of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, and Abduljalil al-Singace, a leader of the opposition group Al Haq; both serving life terms.

Skyline also shed light on the case of Shaikh Ali Salman, leader of Al-Wifaq, Bahrain’s largest opposition political society. He is also serving a life term after the Court of Cassation upheld his sentence in January 2019 on trumped-up charges of allegedly spying for Qatar.