During the week of February 18, ADHRB traveled to Geneva, Switzerland, to meet with UN officials, representatives from UN member states, and civil society leaders in advance of the United Nations Human Rights Council’s 22nd session. In meetings with UN officials, ADHRB raised several concerns regarding the continuing use of excessive force against protesters, resulting in the death of at least one protester during protests on February 14; the revocation of citizenship of 31 Bahraini citizens, including ADHRB Director Husain Abdulla; and attempts by the Government of Bahrain to engage in reprisals against activists for their work, as in the case of Jalila al-Salman, who was fired from her teaching position just one day after participating in a public event in Washington, D.C. sponsored by the National Endowment for Democracy and the Project on Middle East Democracy.
In meetings with officials from UN member states, ADHRB encouraged delegations to support a joint statement on Bahrain, prepared by Switzerland, which raises concerns regarding ongoing human rights violations in Bahrain. The statement, presented to the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday, February 28, was joined by 44 nations, including the United States. It is the second such statement in as many years to have been issued on Bahrain. The joint statement issued in 2012 received support from only 27 countries; the United States was not one of them. ADHRB issued a press statement welcoming the joint statement, lauding the United States’ decision to sign on, and urging the Government of Bahrain to heed the concerns of the international community.