On 23 March 2017, Nader Almatrook delivered an oral intervention at the 34th session of the Human Rights Council on behalf of Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain, the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, and the Bahrain Center for Human Rights. In his intervention, he expressed great concern over Bahrain’s refusal to substantively cooperate with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights despite Bahrain’s repeated public comments concerning cooperation. Please continue reading for the full text of his remarks or click here for a PDF of his intervention.
We in the Bahrain human rights community are greatly concerned at the lack of substantive cooperation between the Kingdom of Bahrain and OHCHR, despite repeated public commitments to the contrary.
Over many years now, Bahraini officials have claimed to welcome cooperation with OHCHR. Yet, despite long-standing discussions regarding a technical cooperation program with the Office, the government has never agreed to establish necessary conditions and protections for a successful program.
Most recently, the Speaker of the Bahraini Parliament requested that the High Commissioner visit Bahrain. Though a visit was already proposed by the government months ago, Bahrain has remained obstinate toward receiving an OHCHR technical team to assess the current human rights conditions ahead of a country visit. By denying the Office access at a working level, and by repeatedly stalling discussions to resolve these concerns, Bahrain has repeatedly proven that its desire for either technical cooperation with OHCHR, or a visit by the High Commissioner or the Special Procedures, are purely rhetorical maneuvers meant to obfuscate Bahrain’s systematic and widespread abuses.
We therefore call on Bahrain to abandon its efforts towards cosmetic veneers of reform, and instead dedicate its work to concretely addressing human rights violations in the kingdom, with a view toward creating conducive conditions for further dialogue and international technical cooperation.