On Tuesday, 12 September 2017, Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) delivered an oral intervention at the 36th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC). The intervention was delivered by ADHRB’s Advocacy Officer Michael Payne under the Council’s Item 2 General Debate. To read and watch the intervention, please see below or click here.
Alsalam Foundation with ADHRB thank the High Commissioner for his report to the Council, in particular his pointed observations on the human rights abuses in Bahrain, and regarding the Bahraini government’s hollow efforts toward assistance and reform.
The High Commissioner referred to, “severe restrictions on civil society and political activism through arrests, intimidation, travel bans and closure orders, with increasing reports of torture by the security authorities.” Many of these measures this year have been the direct impact of the king’s decree to re-empower Bahrain’s National Security Agency in January. This body acts as a secret police force carrying out home raids, enforced disappearance, torture, intimidation and reprisals with impunity.
This month, six Special Procedure mandates this session in a wide-ranging thematic complaint on Bahrain that addressed flawed legal frameworks, restrictions on civil and political societies, repression along religious lines, criminalized peaceful expression and assembly, and arbitrary deprivation of nationality. Among the prominent figures raised in the report are Sheikh Ali Salman, Hassan Mushaima, and Abdulwahab Hussain, who are serving lengthy sentences in Bahrain’s Jau Prison. Poor conditions and abusive treatment have led many leading activists in Jau to organize a hunger strike in protest.
We further agree with the High Commissioner’s assessment of the disingenuous attempts by the Government of Bahrain to feign efforts toward reform. Instead of seeking “genuine efforts to address the situation,” Bahrain reportedly answers the High Commissioner with unfounded accusations and obstructionism. Public spear campaigns against UN officers and mechanisms cannot whitewash objective concerns over the country’s human rights crisis.
We therefore call on the States of this Council to follow up on past statements of concern on Bahrain and seek to address the concerns raised by the High Commissioner.