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HR Groups Call on HR Council to Make Efforts to Open OHCHR Office in Bahrain

2015-07-22 - 1:09 am

Bahrain Mirror: Twelve non-governmental organizations have sent a letter to the United Nations Human Rights Council on July 16, 2015 regarding the human rights situation in Bahrain in which they called for the release of "human rights defenders" in Bahrain and "investigate into all allegations of torture and ill-treatment".

The HR organizations expressed their deep concern, stating that "during this period the Government of Bahrain has made no significant progress towards genuine cooperation with UN human rights mechanisms. To the contrary, the Government of Bahrain has intensified its repression of dissenting voices, including through the arbitrary detentions of high-profile opposition activists and human rights defenders, trials that fail to adhere to international fair trial standards, ill-treatment of detainees, excessive use of force, and restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly that go far beyond those permitted under international law."

The organizations also urged the UN Human Rights Council "to resume efforts to address the human rights situation in Bahrain at the upcoming 30th session of the Council and to promote and support a resolution that calls on the Government of Bahrain to implement promptly and fully the recommendations of the Bahrain International Commission of Inquiry (BICI) and the recommendations agreed by the Bahrain Government in the context of the 2nd cycle of the Universal Periodic Review, in particular: Release protesters, activists and human rights defenders detained or convicted solely for having exercised their rights to peaceful assembly, association or expression; ensure independent, thorough, and impartial investigations into all allegations of torture and ill-treatment; demonstrate the effectiveness, impartiality and independence of newly established human rights institutions, including the National Human Rights Institution, the Ombudsman, the Special Investigations Unit and the Prisoners and Detainees Rights Commission; revise or repeal laws that unduly restrict freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly and association; engage in comprehensive reform of the legal system to ensure effective independence of the judiciary; and ensure accountability for the serious human rights violations that took place during and after the 2011 protests, including but not limited to those documented in the BICI report."

The organizations also stressed on the necessity to "cooperate with Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council, including by swiftly providing access to Special Rapporteurs who have outstanding requests for visits to Bahrain, such as the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, authorize the opening of a country-office of the OHCHR with a full mandate to oversee implementation of the aforementioned recommendations and monitor the human rights situation on the ground, with periodic reporting to the Human Rights Council."

The organizations that signed the letter are: Amnesty International, Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain, Asian Legal Resource Centre, Bahrain Center for Human Rights, Bahrain Institute for Rights & Democracy (BIRD), Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, Conectas Direitos Humanos, Gulf Centre for Human Rights, International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), International Service for Human Rights and Human Rights Watch.

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