Joint Statement on Bahrain

Mr. President,

I have the honour to make this statement on behalf of a group of 33 States. The statement with the list of States will made available on the HRC Extranet.

We recognize and welcome the positive steps taken by the Government of Bahrain in order to improve the human rights situation. In particular, we are encouraged by the establishment of the Ministry of the Interior Ombudsman and its reports, the Special Investigation Unit and its efforts to investigate and prosecute alleged violations by security officials, the Prisoners´ and Detainees´ Rights Commission, and the National Institute for Human Rights and its reporting. We support the Government of Bahrain continuing to work to make these institutions and the judiciary more impartial, transparent, independent and effective. We also welcome the Government’s interim report to the 2nd UPR cycle and its implementation of a number of recommendations including the separation of juvenile detainees from adults. We note with satisfaction that a technical visit of the OHCHR took place in the fall of 2014, that public consultations between all stakeholders, including civil society, were conducted during the visit, and that technical cooperation projects were discussed.

However, the human rights situation in Bahrain remains an issue of serious concern to us. We are concerned about reports of harassment and imprisonment of persons exercising their rights to freedom of opinion and expression and of peaceful assembly and association, including human rights defenders; about the lack of sufficient guarantees of fair trial; by the detention of minors due to their participation in demonstrations and urge the Government to look at alternatives to detention. We are concerned that there is insufficient accountability for human rights violations. We condemn the targeting of security forces personnel, including through the use of IEDs that have resulted in the death of
policemen, four in the last year. Lastly, we are concerned about reports of reprisals against victims reporting human rights abuses or violations as well as against individuals cooperating with the UN.

We call upon the Government to expedite the full implementation of the recommendations of the BICI and the UPR, by undertaking further measures, in particular amending or repealing legal provisions that are not in line with Bahrain’s international human rights obligations and commitments, in particular regarding freedom of expression.

We call upon the Government of Bahrain to appropriately address all reports of torture and illtreatment of detainees and ensure full investigation and prosecution of these cases, as well as of oth-
er allegations of human rights violations and abuses. We call upon the Government to agree to a visit to Bahrain by the Special Rapporteur on Torture.

We are encouraged by the recent announcement by the Bahraini Foreign Minister regarding cooperation with the OHCHR and urge the Government to formalize this agreement as soon as possible. We also call upon Bahrain to further enhance its cooperation with the Human Rights Council, the Special procedures and the treaty bodies.

We urge the Government to ensure the right to peaceful assembly and to continue to issue clear instructions to the security forces to refrain from using excessive force against protesters, in accordance with international standards, and ensure their effective implementation. We also urge the Government to release all persons imprisoned solely for exercising their human rights.

While acknowledging the difficult situation in the region, human rights must be upheld. We also invite the Government to revive the necessary conditions for the resumption of an open and inclusive national dialogue, to which the opposition should also contribute in a positive way.

Thank you Mr. President.

The joint statement has been delivered on behalf of Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Botswana, Bulgaria, Chile, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States of America, Uruguay