On Thursday 5 July 2018, during the Agenda Item 10 General Debate at the 38th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, ADHRB delivered an oral intervention criticizing Bahrain for refusing to engage with OHCHR and the mandates of the Special Procedures, especially ahead of Bahrain’s upcoming parliamentary elections in the fall. Click here to read a PDF of the intervention or continue below for the text of the remarks.
ADHRB would like to bring to the attention of the Council the government of Bahrain’s continual disregard for cooperation with international mechanisms for human rights capacity building. For example, Bahrain seeks international legitimacy for its upcoming 2018 parliamentary elections, yet the government refuses to cooperate with OHCHR or other UN bodies create a conducive environment for successful elections.
Despite regular engagement by the Special Procedures, the Bahraini authorities have continued to dismiss the work of the OHCHR and the Human Rights Council. The government has repeatedly postponed visits by special rapporteurs to the country, and no Special Procedures have been granted visits since 2006, despite requests from SRs Torture, HRDs, Expression, Assembly, Health and others.
The Bahraini government has also failed to cooperate with OHCHR at large, which was noted by the High Commissioner himself in his address to this Council. Following his comments and report at this Session, the Bahraini press mocked the High Commissioner and celebrated that this will be his final session.
Given the widespread and systematic abuses, ADHRB remains concerned for the deteriorating human rights situation in Bahrain, particularly the absence of human rights and technical experts, which has created a vacuum in the country where civil society can no longer exist. We therefore call on Bahrain to issue standing invitations to any mandate to visit the kingdom, to accept the pending requests of more than five Special Procedures mandate holders, and to seek genuine cooperation with OHCHR.