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Call to release Bahraini medics

Australian groups have launched a campaign to condemn ongoing human rights violations against nurses and other health workers in Bahrain.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) and Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA have supported the Australian Nursing Federation (ANF) in this campaign, which marks the second anniversary of the crackdown on Bahrain's anti-government demonstrations, sometimes known as "the forgotten Arab Spring".

Support is also coming from the federal Senate and the House of Representatives, as the Greens and the Australian Labor Party finalise motions to protect human rights in Bahrain.

The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights has reported at least 87 deaths and more than 1,800 arrests of pro-democracy protesters since February 2011. Military suppression of mass pro-democracy protests has extended to the health services, with more than 90 medical staff meeting violence.

Some, including nurses, have been arrested and tortured for attending to injured protesters.
ANF Federal Secretary Lee Thomas said: "We are appalled that nurses and other healthcare professionals in Bahrain continue to be locked up simply for doing their job - caring for the sick and injured.

"Two years after the uprisings, we're told there are still seven medics being held in Bahraini prisons, including Ibrahim al-Demistani, general secretary of the Bahrain Nursing Society."

Thomas said the ANF condemned human rights violations and hoped to highlight the pressing need for action.

To read more about the imprisoned health workers, see: www.anf.org.au/pages/bahrain-solidarity-campaign where you also send a message of support.

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