Bahraini NGOs Welcome Speech given by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Urge Bahraini Authorities to Cooperate

 Bahraini non-government organisations (NGOs) welcomed the speech given by Zeid bin Ra’ad al-Hussein, the current United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in the UN Human Rights Council’s 36th Session (11 September 2017) where he elaborated on the reality of the dire human rights situation in Bahrain. The High Commissioner confirmed the violations in documented reports by NGOs, Working Groups, and Special Rapporteurs, and demonstrates that the Bahraini authorities’ have only continued to maintain an absence of impartiality, an impunity culture and victim disregard environment. Please note that at present the Bahraini authorities have continued to block any visits by the UN Special Rapporteurs.
Moreover, the Bahraini NGOs highlighted the recent intensification from the Bahraini authorities resulting in the complete shutdown of civil society participation and the complete closure of the small democratic space that existed in the country – as noted by the High Commissioner in his speech. Notwithstanding the fact that peaceful political dissent and human rights activism have been aggressively clamped down on, with travel bans, arbitrary arrests, midnight house raids, enforced disappearances, torture, involuntary deportation, sectarian discrimination against peaceful protesters, and extrajudicial killings have all continued. As such, it is apparent that the authorities have not, in any meaningful capacity, implemented the recommendations presented by the Bahrain Independent Commission Inquiry (BICI) 6 years ago or the UPR Review recommendations presented in 2012 and reviewed in May 2017.
The Bahraini NGOs have urged the Bahraini authorities to provide the technical assistance and clearance requested by the High Commissioner, so that UN mechanisms like the Special Rapporteurs can carry out their mandates in hope of improving the severe human rights situation in Bahrain. No doubt, it has become apparent that all disregard of the High Commissioner’s requests illustrate that the Bahraini authorities have not taken previous recommendations seriously and have not carried out the required improvements it promised to do.
The NGOs would also implore member states in the UNHRC to forcefully pressure the Bahraini authorities to implement the accepted recommendations and abide by its international obligations, and stop the prosecution and pressure on human rights defenders that have engaged in UN mechanisms.
Signed NGOs to this statement are:
SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights (SALAM)
Bahrain Forum for Human Rights (BFHR)
Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (GIDHR)
Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR)
The European-Bahraini Organization for Human Rights (EBOHR)
Statement signed: 13 September 2017