WASHINGTON, DC – November 26, 2013 – Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) commends European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton for her statement marking the two year anniversary of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) report.
Presented by a spokesperson for Catherine Ashton, the statement called attention to the Government of Bahrain’s failure to quickly and thoroughly implement the BICI recommendations, noting with particular concern its failure to implement mechanisms to address accountability and impunity among security forces. The statement also called for all sides to reject violence and ‘seize peaceful dialogue channels’ in order to foster ‘constructive cooperation.’
“For peaceful reform to take place in Bahrain, international actors must understand and acknowledge what the Government of Bahrain has and has not accomplished,” said ADHRB Director Husain Abdulla. “We at ADHRB thank Lady Ashton for her conscientious statement, as well as her insistence on genuine accountability for alleged torturers, abusers, and killers currently shielded by Bahrain’s culture of impunity. Although it is regrettable that implementation of BICI recommendations has thus far been limited, we continue to believe that the report is an essential part of reform in Bahrain, and are encouraged to find the international community continuing to call for its implementation as well.”
Lady Ashton’s statement “invites the Government of Bahrain to go even beyond the recommendations of the BICI report and to also address those made under the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR),” which was conducted in May of 2012. Unfortunately, as is the case with the BICI report, many of the accepted UPR recommendations have been since ignored; most notably those calling for the release of political prisoners and human rights defenders, as well as the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT) & International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICPPED). Human rights defenders continue to be routinely subjected to imprisonment and torture, as demonstrated by arrest this week of European-Bahraini Organization for Human Rights Chairman Hussain Jawad.
“In its violent and illegal campaign to suppress political diversity and freedom of speech, the Government of Bahrain continues to violate both domestic and international laws. We join the High Representative in advising a swift implementation of the accepted recommendations from the BICI and the UPR,” Mr. Abdulla said. “Lady Ashton’s call to fully implement the BICI report is a stark reminder of both the government’s reluctance to reform and the vigilance of dedicated international actors in promoting human rights.”
Please click here for a PDF of this statement.