ADHRB at HRC38 raises concerns about ongoing torture in Bahrain despite UPR numerous recommendations

On Friday 29 June, during the 38th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Salma Moussawi delivered an oral intervention during the Item 6 General Debate on behalf of ADHRB in which she criticized Bahrain’s lack of commitment to implementing its UPR recommendations, in particular recommendations on halting torture and ensuring accountability. Click here for a PDF of her intervention in Arabic and here for a PDF of her intervention in English, or continue reading for the text of her intervention in English.

Mr. President,

ADHRB is concerned with Bahrain’s lack of commitment to implementing its UPR recommendations. In its 2017 3rd UPR cycle, Bahrain received over ten recommendations calling on the government to halt torture and ensure accountability for security force members for torture. Despite this, torture remains rampant, widespread, and systematic in Bahraini detention centers.

In its review, the Committee stated “there continue to be numerous and consistent allegations of widespread torture and ill-treatment of persons… in all places of detention and elsewhere…” The Committee also noted its concern at “the climate of impunity that seems to prevail as a result of the low number of convictions for torture.” Among those detainees tortured by Bahraini security forces are Naji Fateel, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, Dr. Abduljalil al-Singace, Ebitsam al-Saegh, Ali al-Tajer, and cousins Ahmed al-Arab and Ali al-Arab, among hundreds of others. In the vast majority of these cases there has been no investigation into the abuses.

Despite widespread documentation of torture by Bahraini security forces, few, if any perpetrators have been brought to justice. This impunity has reached to the highest levels, including personal acts of torture by Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad, the son of the king. Few officials are ever prosecuted, while others still have been promoted.

Torture and impunity are fundamental to Bahrain’s judicial system. We call upon Bahrain immediately investigate and prosecute all allegations of torture.

Thank you.