Global Health Leaders Urge Release of Bahraini Health Professionals

(22.05.2012) A personal plea to the King of Bahrain for all charges against 20 Bahraini health professionals to be dropped has been made by the leaders of the world’s health professions.

In a letter to the King, the four global leaders representing 24 million nurses, physical therapists, dentists and doctors say they are concerned that the health professionals, on whom verdicts are due on June 14, have not received a fair and equitable trial.

The letter declares: ‘In addition we anticipate that the findings of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry report concerning allegations of torture will be taken into account.

‘Health professionals have a moral and ethical duty to treat everyone that comes into the hospital, irrespective of their political affiliation, their religion or their ethnicity. We emphasise the critical importance of protecting health workers in order that they may exercise their duty to care for all in peace time or during times of conflict.

‘We call for all charges against the health professionals to be dropped and for them to be reinstated in their positions, so they can continue to care for all who need them. In addition, we urge the authorities to immediately set up an independent investigation into the alleged torture or other ill-treatment of some of the defendants, to make its results public, and bring to justice anyone responsible.

‘The eyes of the world will be watching Bahrain on 14 June 2012 when the verdict is delivered, since the outcome of this trial will have repercussions for other countries. On behalf of the world’s health professionals, we urge you to ensure that your country upholds the human rights of citizens by dropping all charges and releasing the health professionals immediately’.

The letter has been signed by Dr. Rosemary Bryant, President of the International Council of Nurses, Dr. Marilyn Moffat, President of the World Confederation for Physical Therapy, Dr. Orlando Monteiro da Silva, President of the World Dental Federation and Dr.José Gomes do Amaral, President of the World Medical Association.