On 17 March 2017, Ebrahim Demistani delivered an oral intervention on behalf of ADHRB, BIRD, and BCHR at the 34th session of the Human Rights Council under Item 6. In his intervention, Demistani addressed Bahrain’s failure to implement even one of its 176 UPR recommendations in spirit and practice. Please continue reading for the full text of his intervention or click here for a PDF of his remarks.
With Bahrain’s third UPR cycle set to begin this May, we would like to address the government’s failure to implement the vast majority of its 176 second-cycle recommendations.
Of these, we have seen no substantial steps towards implementation in the vast majority of these recommendations. Not one has been fully implemented in both spirit and practice.
Most recently, the government has actively regressed in a number of areas. On 15 January 2017, Bahraini authorities executed three victims of torture, underscoring their rejection of 6 UPR recommendations to abolish capital punishment.
That same month, the government restored arrest powers to the NSA, the country’s disgraced intelligence service responsible for severe abuses in 2011. Soon after, the government advanced a constitutional amendment to allow military courts to try civilians, contravening numerous UPR recommendations to ensure the contrary.
Just last week, authorities targeted and abused the family members of activists in reprisal for their work here in Geneva, and moved to dissolve the country’s last major opposition group, Wa’ad.
We therefore call on the international community to reemphasize its past UPR recommendations for Bahrain – which remain as pressing as they did in 2012 – while pushing for a more comprehensive, transparent, and accountable third cycle review.