The Advocates for Human Rights and Salam for Democracy and Human Rights oral intervention on Item 6 Adoption of UPR outcomes of Bahrain

Human Rights Council 52nd Session 

Speaker:  Drewery Dyke

24 March 2023 

Mr. President:

The Advocates for Human Rights and Salam for Democracy and Human Rights thank the Working Group for its report on the Universal Periodic Review of Bahrain.

Bahrain’s use of the death penalty has increased by 20% since 2011, including death sentences for crimes other than the most serious. Foreign nationals and racial minorities disproportionately receive death sentences.

Accordingly, we commend Bahrain for supporting two recommendations to limit the death penalty to the most serious crimes.

While we share disappointment that Bahrain voted against a UN General Assembly vote on a moratorium of the death penalty in 2022, we welcome 13 countries’ recommendations that Bahrain ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR and restore a moratorium on its use. Unfortunately, Bahrain noted these recommendations.

As the use of torture while in detention remains widespread, particularly for individuals charged with ‘terrorism’-related offenses, we commend Bahrain for supporting  recommendations to ratify the Convention against Torture, as well as its Optional Protocol.

We also  welcome commitments set out in Bahrain’s National Human Rights Plan. The 2018 ‘Political Isolation’ laws, conversely, counter support for inclusion and tolerance set out in it. They reject provisions in the ICCPR that guarantee the right to take part in the conduct of public affairs.

We urge Bahrain to: 

Commute the death sentences of all individuals on death row for non-lethal offenses and immediately restore a moratorium on executions;
Conduct a full review to identify death sentences handed down in reliance on torture-tainted evidence or other human rights violations;
Act now to make independent all state human rights oversight bodies to ensure they can independently investigate allegations of torture and deliver redress, rehabilitation, and compensation; and
Implement UPR commitments and those set out in the National Human Rights Plan to ensure the right to engage in public life.

Thank you.