ADHRB at HRC: Bahrain’s concerning human rights situation

On March 23, 2016, at the 31st session of the Human Rights Council, Isabel Cerda Marcos delivered an oral intervention during the Item 2 General Debate on behalf of Alsalam Foundation, ADHRB, BCHR, and BIRD, in which she echoed the High Commissioner in his assessment on the concerning nature of Bahrain’s human rights situation, and called on Bahrain to end impunity and release those persons arrested in relation to peaceful protests.

Please continue reading for her full remarks, or click here for a PDF of her intervention.

Mr. President,

Alsalam Foundation, together with Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, would like to thank the High Commissioner for his comments this session on the human rights situation in Bahrain. We share his assessment that arbitrary arrests, torture, and revocation of citizenship are issues of serious concern, and we likewise call on the Government of Bahrain to end impunity and release those arrested in relation to peaceful protests.

We agree that little has been done to end impunity for human rights violations in Bahrain. National human rights institutions have failed to maintain independence and failed to adequately redress complaints of human rights abuses. Reports of torture, arbitrary arrest, and incommunicado detention regularly go unaddressed.

We feel that the arbitrary revocation of citizenship is a growing trend that must be addressed, and share the High Commissioner’s concerns in this regard. To date, Bahrain has arbitrarily revoked the nationality of over 260 people and recently deported a number of those made stateless, including Sheikh Mohamed Khojasteh, Dr. Mahsoud Jahroumi, Hussein Mahmoud and Ali Asfandiar.

We furthermore welcome the High Commissioner’s call to release those who have been arrested in connection with peaceful protests. The government continues to arbitrarily arrest, torture, and sentence individuals for participating in protests. On 14 February 2016, security forces arbitrarily arrested four journalists attempting to cover the protests. Security forces have used excessive force to suppress peaceful protests and target protesters.

We are extremely concerned about Bahrain’s deepening human rights crisis. Mr. High Commissioner, we share your assessment that Bahrain must implement profound reforms, and we ask that the Council consider appointing a Special Rapporteur on Bahrain.

Thank you.