On March 16, 2016, at the 31st session of the Human Rights Council, Nedhal al-Salman, on behalf of ADHRB, BIRD, and BCHR, delivered an oral intervention during the Item 5 General Debate, in which she addressed Bahrain’s failure to cooperate with the Special Procedures, particularly concerning the treatement of children, and women human rights defenders.
Please continue reading for her full remarks, or click here to read a PDF of her intervention.
Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain, together with the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy and the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, would like to express our concern at States’ failure to cooperate with the Special Procedures. For example, Bahrain has not allowed any Special Procedures to visit since 2006, despite regular communications from a wide range of mandates.
For example, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the Special Rapporteurs on health, the independence of judges and lawyers, and torture, sent a communication to the Government of Bahrain in May 2015 alleging the arbitrary arrest, detention, torture, and conviction of 39 minors after systematic torture and trials that did not meet international fair trial standards.
The special procedures have also issued communications expressing concern about the targeting of women human rights defenders, such as Zainab al-Khawaja. In December 2014, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the Special Rapporteurs on freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and human rights defenders expressed concern about allegations that Zainab, Maryam al-Khawaja, and Ghada Jamsheer had been sentenced for their human rights work. The government did not respond to the communication. Just yesterday, on 14 March 2016, security forces raided Zainab’s apartment and arrested her and her 15-month-old son to serve three years and one month in prison on charges related to her free expression.
Mr. President, Bahrain’s disregard for the work of the Special Procedures is deeply concerning. We call on all States, including Bahrain, to maintain open dialogue with the Procedures with a view towards effectively combating human rights abuses and facilitating country visits.