During the second week of the 41st Session of the Human Rights Council, Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) delivered an oral statement drawing attention to Bahrain’s failure to take steps to fulfill its UPR recommendations recived in May 2017. The government continued to commit human rights abuses since its last UPR, especially againts human rights defenders like Nabeel Rajab. More recently, in May 2019, Bahraini government approved a new cybercrime law to restrict even more the freedom of expression over social media.
Click here for a PDF of the submitted statement.
Please find the statement below.
As Bahrain approaches the mid-term of its 3rd cycle UPR, ADHRB would like to raise concerns over Bahrain’s failure to comply with the UPR recommendations it received during its review in May 2017.
Despite ostensible legislative and judicial reforms, Bahrain has committed a litany of human rights abuses since its last UPR. It has jailed human rights defenders like Nabeel Rajab, political activists like Sheikh Ali Salman, increasingly used citizenship revocation as a tool of reprisal against dissidents, and continued to engage in widespread and systematic arbitrary detention and torture.
The Government of Bahrain has long placed undue restrictions upon freedoms of expression, association, and assembly, but this repression has deepened since 2017. In 2017, Bahrain amended its Constitution to allow military courts to try civilians for so-called national security crimes. The government also restored the arrest powers to the National Security Agency – Bahrain’s secret police – which had been stripped of its powers in 2011 following allegations of torture and extrajudicial killings. Now, more recently, in May 2019, authorities passed a new, more draconian law designed to further restrict freedom of expression, in particular over social media, under the guise of countering defamatory material.
As a Member State of the Council, we hold Bahrain to a higher standard, and its failure to take steps to fulfill its UPR recommendations sets a poor example. We call upon Bahrain to implement its UPR recommendations, and for members of the Council to hold Bahrain accountable for its failure to reform its human rights record.