Britain Refuses to Back UN statement Condemning Bahrain’s Human Rights Abuses
2017-03-03 - 2:47 am
Bahrain Mirror: The British government has refused to back a joint United Nations statement criticising Bahrain over its deteriorating human rights record.
Following the execution of three political prisoners and torture victims last January, the island kingdom of Bahrain has been facing fierce criticism from the international human rights community.
NGOs have accused the UK of giving Bahrain a free pass to resume executions by failing to condemn its recent return to capital punishment, which had been suspended for a time.
In response to a planned Swiss-led joint motion this week by the UN warning that the gulf nation is on the brink of a human rights crisis, with political prisoners being tortured with cigarettes, electric shocks and hot irons among other forms of torture, the UK Mission to the UN has chosen instead to focus on the country's alleged "progress." A foreign office source has told the Middle East Eye that the British government would refuse to back the joint statement.
"The UK considers the proposed Swiss statement does not recognise some of the genuine progress Bahrain has made. Instead, we will be issuing a UK National Statement that includes Bahrain," said the official.
Britain's failure to address Bahrain's actions at the Human Rights Council (HRC) meeting this week will go some way to watering down criticism of the kingdom, with which London has strong trade and military ties and which it sees as a key ally.
Human rights groups have suggested that the British position may be linked to ‘trade and security deals'.
"It is appalling that, weeks after Bahrain resumed executions, the British government is trying to block criticism of the Kingdom at the UN. The UK says it supports reform in Bahrain - but despite this, torture, forced confessions, and the use of the death penalty are rife," Moya Foa, a director at international rights group Reprieve, told MEE.
Reacting to the UK's moves in Geneva, Polly Truscott, Amnesty's foreign affairs advisor, said: "We would question also whether its failure to publicly condemn such regressive measures is linked to trade and security deals."
comments powered by Disqus