HRC34 Oral Interventions: Item #4 General Debate

On 15 March 2017, Husain Abdulla, the Executive Director of Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain delivered an oral intervention under the Item 4 General Debate. He highlighted the United Kingdom’s complicity in human rights abuses in Bahrain, because of the international protection the UK has given the kingdom, particularly in the Human Rights Council. Please continue reading for his full remarks or click here for a PDF of the intervention.

Mr. President,

We raise our concern over some Members of this Council using their membership status and political influence to shelter to some states that regularly engage in widespread and systematic human rights violations.

For example, we are very concerned that the United Kingdom is providing political protection to shield Bahrain from any substantial criticism in this Council.

The UK has worked diligently to dilute or divert every effort to raise multilateral concerns over the continuing human rights crisis in Bahrain. These efforts even included a delegation from the UK Embassy in Manama that traveled to Geneva to defend Bahrain. This raises serious questions over the UK’s legitimacy in this Council.

The UK has claimed that private diplomacy remains positive and constructive with Bahrain. To date, the results of this private “constructive engagement” includes:

  • the arrest of Nabeel Rajab for a tweet,
  • the dissolution of al-Wefaq and now Wa’ad,
  • the denaturalization of the most preeminent Shia cleric, Sh. Isa Qassim,
  • the execution of three victims of torture convicted by one of the least credible judicial systems in the region
  • an expanded role for military courts and the NSA

Until today, we are waiting for the UK government to call publicly for the release of at least one HRD or prisoner of conscious in Bahrain. Now is the time for the UK to publicly stand for human rights in Bahrain, and to end their destructive efforts to whitewash the kingdom’s abuses.

Thank you.