ADHRB at HRC: Bahrain’s lack of cooperation with UN human rights mechanisms and bodies

On March 23, 2016, at the 31st session of the Human Rights Council, Diam Abou-Diab delivered an oral intervention during the Item 10 General Debate on behalf of ADHRB, Alsalam Foundation, BCHR, and BIRD, in which she called the Council’s attention to Bahrain’s continued lack of cooperation with the UN human rights mechanisms and bodies.

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

Mr. President,

Alsalam Foundation, together with Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain, the Bahrain Institute for Rights & Democracy, and the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, would like to call the Council’s attention to Bahrain’s continued lack of cooperation with the Human Rights Council, its mechanisms, and OHCHR. We are particularly concerned that while Bahrain makes public commitments to cooperate with UN bodies, it fails to follow through on these commitments.

For example, OHCHR conducted a country visit to Bahrain in February of this year to assess opportunities for technical cooperation and capacity building. Despite this mission, OHCHR departed Bahrain without any formal agreement on technical cooperation with the Office.

Yet, during Bahrain’s high-level statement, Bahrain’s Assistant Foreign Minister claimed that the government had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with OHCHR following the February mission. However, no such agreement exists.

This session, the High Commissioner in his report to the Council, noted his concern at the increased use of the arbitrary revocation of citizenship in Bahrain and subsequent deportations. He also indicated Bahrain’s need for “profound reforms” in order to effectively uphold international standards of human rights. He further called for the release of all prisoners imprisoned for exercising their human rights.

We therefore reiterate our support for the establishment of an OHCHR mission in Bahrain to monitor and report on Bahrain’s implementation of its human rights obligations and to promote genuine engagement with UN mechanisms. We also call for substantive commitments from the Government of Bahrain to ensure that national institutions work with civil society to implement human rights reforms.

Thank you.