Opposition group al-Wefaq expressed “deep disappointment” on the content of Bahrain’s National Institution for Human Rights’ annual report. In a statement, al-Wefaq alleged that the report’s content is “far from reality” and “has disregarded many of the blatant violations taking place” in Bahrain. The opposition group asserted that “impunity is the most significant issue missing from the report.” The group concluded its statement by urging the government to allow the special rapporteur on human rights, and the working group on human rights to visit the country.
The Bahraini government established the Bahrain National Institution for Human Rights (B-NIHR) in response to a recommendation made by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) in 2011. The BICI recommended the establishment of a standing independent body to examine complaints of torture, ill-treatment, excessive use of force, or other abuses. However, Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) issued a follow-up report in 2015 and found that the B-NIHR contained several structural flaws, making it difficult to successfully investigate and prosecute allegations of ill-treatment. The body lacks independence because the government of Bahrain appoints its members. Additionally, the B-NIHR is unable to enforce any of its decisions, and its complaints program is “not tailored to the needs of victims of torture and ill-treatment.” The organization “remains subordinate to the Attorney General and the Special Investigative Unit, which have repeatedly been found to ignore reports of torture and ill-treatment.” The B-NIHR’s inability to successfully pursue and prosecute these allegations, combined with its compromised impartiality impacts its ability to monitor human rights conditions in Bahrain.
Tyler Pry is an Advocacy Intern at Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain
Photo courtesy of Ammar Yasser