On 18 September at the 36th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, ADHRB’s International Advocacy Officer Michael Payne delivered an oral intervention under the Item 3 General Debate. In his intervention, Payne discussed the work of the Special Procedures on Bahrain. He also highlighted the reprisals against Sayed Ahmed al-Wadaei and Ebtisam al-Saegh for their cooperation with the Human Rights Council. Please continue reading for the full text of his intervention, of click here for a PDF.

Mr. President,

Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain would like to thank the various mandates of the Special Procedures for their recent continued engagement on human rights concerns in Bahrain.

In the most recent joint communications report, six special procedure mandates issues widespread concerns over arbitrary detention, abuse of human rights defenders and political opposition figures, and the overall closing civil society space. Most of these efforts this year have been led by Bahrain’s National Security Agency. This body acts as a secret police force that raids homes and protests, forcibly disappears, and tortures with impunity.

Among the most recent targets for reprisals was the family of human rights defender Sayed Ahmed al-Wadaei. While Sayed Ahmed was here for HRC 34, Bahrain’s security forces arrested and tortured his mother-in-law, his brother-in-law, and his cousin. They were coerced to sign false confessions the government is now using to charge them with terrorism, and will likely sentence them at the end of next month. Another reprisal case is Ebtisam al-Saegh, a woman human rights defender who was tortured and sexually assaulted by the NSA.

Despite fresh complaints of human rights abuses in every communications report since 2011, the Government of Bahrain still fails to work constructively with the Special Procedures of this Council. The High Commissioner too warned last week about Bahrain’s false claims of reform, and empty gestures in the name of cooperation.

We therefore call on States to hold Bahrain accountable for both, its widespread human rights abuses, and its contempt of this Council and its mechanism.

Thank you,