ADHRB Applauds Joint Statement on Bahrain
by UN Member States
Photo Credit: United Nations
Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) applauds the 47 United Nations member states who participated in a joint statement expressing serious concern over the human rights situation in Bahrain. The statement—the third to be introduced in as many years—was announced by Switzerland before the United Nations Human Rights Council and received cross-regional support from countries in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas, including the United States, although no Middle Eastern countries supported the statement. This is an increase from last year’s 44 countries who signed onto a similar joint statement, and a significant increase from 2011 when only 27 states signed a statement on Bahrain.
“We applaud the 47 member nations who participated in this joint statement for voicing their concerns over the ongoing human rights situation in Bahrain,” said ADHRB Director Husain Abdulla. “The people of Bahrain continue in their struggle to achieve democratic reform and respect for basic human rights, and this joint statement sends a clear signal to the Bahrain government that reforms must be enacted swiftly to address the culture of repression, abuse, and impunity.”
In the statement, signatories echoed concerns raised by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights regarding the implementation of 22 recommendations made by Bahrain’s National Assembly on July 28, 2013, many of which effectively institutionalize human rights violations under the guise of national security. The statement also expressed particular concern over the ongoing violations of basic human rights, including the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, freedom of opinion, and freedom of expression. Additionally, the statement addressed the issues of repression at demonstrations and the revocation of citizenship “without due process,” which has left some Bahrainis stateless.
The 47 countries called upon the Government of Bahrain to address the concerns raised in the joint statement and to expedite the implementation of the recommendations made by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), a body appointed by Bahrain’s king following the outbreak of protests in 2011. The statement also urged the Bahrain government to implement the recommendations Bahrain accepted during its Universal Periodic Review in 2012.
The signatories to the statement urged Bahrain’s leaders to allow for “fully comprehensive collaboration” with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), including accepting a follow-up mission from OHCHR. Additionally, the statement called on the Bahrain government to permit the Special Rapporteur on freedom of association and assembly and the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, as well as any other Special Procedures that submit a request, to visit Bahrain. After cancelling two scheduled visits by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, the Bahrain government recently released a statement arguing that “inviting the UN Special Rapporteur is the Government’s prerogative and a matter of State’s sovereignty.”
“This joint action reflects growing international concern over the ongoing human rights violations in Bahrain,” Abdulla said. “We urge the Government of Bahrain to acknowledge the concerns raised by the international community and to act swiftly to bring about reform and end the culture of repression and impunity.”
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