On 17 March 2017, Michael Payne, International Advocacy Officer at ADHRB, delivered an oral intervention during the 34th session of the Human Rights Council under Item 6 on behalf of ADHRB, BIRD, and BCHR. In his intervention he addressed the Bahraini government’s unwillingness to implement its second-cycle UPR recommendations, including to curb torture or protect fundamental freedoms. Please continue reading for the full text of his remarks or click here for a PDF of his intervention.

 

Mr. President,

The Government of Bahrain has so far proven unwilling to implement almost any of its second-cycle UPR recommendations, including those to reform its criminal justice system, curb the use of torture, or sufficiently protect fundamental freedoms. Rather, Bahraini authorities continue to arbitrarily arrest, disappear, torture, and imprison individuals for exercising their basic rights to expression, association, and assembly.

Despite dozens of recommendations to the contrary, Bahrain’s deeply flawed judiciary has overseen the arbitrary detention of hundreds of individuals in recent years, including BCHR president Nabeel Rajab; human rights defender Zainab al-Khawaja; Al-Wefaq Secretary-General Sheikh Ali Salman; activist Ghada Jamsheer; Al-Wahdawi Secretary-General Fadhel Abbas; former Wa’ad Secretary-General Ebrahim Sharif; and activist and academic Khalil al-Halwachi – among many, many others.

Likewise, eleven of the Bahrain 13 – including Hassan Mushaima, Dr. Abduljalil al-Singace, and Sheikh Mohammad Habeeb al-Muqdad – continue to serve life sentences stemming from the events of 2011. BCHR cofounder Abdulhadi al-Khawaja remains in prison despite explicit UPR recommendations calling for his release.

We therefore call on the Government of Bahrain to institute its recommendations to end all forms of arbitrary detention, and to resume a good-faith dialogue process that includes – rather than imprisons – peaceful political and civil society leaders.
Thank you.