HRC35 Item 5 Oral Intervention: Bahrain’s Refusal to Cooperate with Rapporteurs

On 16 June 2017, ADHRB’s International Advocacy Officer, Michael Payne, delivered an oral intervention on behalf of ADHRB and BIRD during the 35 session of the Human Rights Council’s Item 5 debate. In his intervention, Payne raised concerns about the number of states that refuse to actively cooperate with the Special Procedures, like Bahrain. Bahrain has outstanding visit requests from a number of Special Rapporteurs, including torture, expression, and assembly. Please continue reading for the full text of his intervention or click here for a PDF of his remarks.

Mr. President,

Alsalam, ADHRB and BIRD would like to call the Council’s attention to a concerning number of states that refuse to cooperate actively with the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council.

For example, the Kingdom of Bahrain, has not permitted a single UN Special Procedures mandate holder to enter the country since 2006, despite numerous and repeated requests by a wide range of mandate holders to visit the country.Bahrain repeatedly postponed then Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Mendez’s scheduled visit as to effectively cancel it, prompting public criticism from the rapporteur himself.

Since 2011, every joint communications report released by the Special Procedures has included new cases of human rights violations in Bahrain. Yet despite such a clear need to address widespread and systematic abuses, Bahrain continues to deny access.

In recent years, Bahrain has ignored or rejected country visit requests from:

  • SR Torture
  • Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
  • Working Group on Enforced Disappearances
  • SR Free Assembly and Association
  • SR Free Opinion and Expression
  • SR Human Rights Defenders, and
  • Working Group on Discrimination against Women

All of these mandates have joined communications on human rights violations in Bahrain during this Session.

We therefore call on all states, including widespread human rights violators like Bahrain, to pro-actively, regularly and openly engage with the Special Procedures, and to extend open invitations for all mandate holders to visit the country.

Thank you