Field Missions

International Mission to Bahrain Report says promises for reform unfulfilled, while situation deteriorates

2012-01-24

(GCHR) - 24 January 2012 – Tunis/London – A report from a six-member mission of international organisations to Bahrain last November called out Bahraini authorities for failing to deliver on promises of reform, despite a highly-touted commission of inquiry which made numerous recommendations. Rights violations continue on a daily basis, and people are still jailed on long sentences, including prominent human rights activists jailed for life. Yet the world has not been paying attention to this forgotten country during a year of turmoil in the region.

The report, "Justice Denied in Bahrain: Freedom of Expression and Assembly Curtailed", outlines violations of human rights related to the authorities' handling of protests and demonstrations in the country since February 2011. The report details meetings with human rights defenders, lawyers, writers, artists, journalists, government officials and foreign diplomats and provides insight into how the government continues to punish and prosecute individuals for expressing their opinions and protesting ongoing repression.

With the publication of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) report at the end of November (witnessed by the mission) and the deadline of February 2012 for a national commission to make recommendations for reform, expectations have been raised that there will be change in Bahrain. However, as the report indicates and as the mission members witnessed – and continue to monitor –the reality on the ground in Bahrain remains unchanged. Human rights activists, doctors, teachers, union members, political figures, journalists, bloggers and others continue to face harassment, prosecution and imprisonment despite the use of torture and unfair trials against them. Protests continue on an almost daily basis, and the security forces response is virtually unchanged since before the publication of the BICI report.

The 11 recommendations made in the report, "Justice Denied in Bahrain: Freedom of Expression and Assembly Curtailed", include calls to end the harassment, imprisonment and prosecution of Bahraini citizens for what essentially amount to persecution of free expression and legitimate human rights work. In line with the BICI report, which was accepted by the government of Bahrain, the international mission report also insists on accountability for those responsible for violating international human rights norms, in particular those responsible for torture and killing.

 

“Nothing has changed in Bahrain since the release of Bassiouni's report. The government needs to implement immediately all the recommendations that included in this report and stops all forms of human rights violations. The government of Bahrain must also respect all human rights conventions and starts seriously to protect people's human rights.” said Khalid Ibrahim, Deputy Director of the Gulf centre for Human Rights.

The full mission report is online in English at:

https://www.gc4hr.org/report/view/5

The mission team was composed of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), Front Line Defenders, the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), Index on Censorship, International Media Support (IMS) and the Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of PEN International, and was supported by the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX).


For more information:

About the launch of the mission report in London
Contacts:
Sara Yasin, Index on Censorship, saray (@) indexoncensorship.org, tel: +44 (0) 207 324 2532
Or
Cathy McCann, WiPC of PEN International, Cathy.McCann (@) pen-international.org, tel: +44 (0)20 7405 0338

About the launch of the mission report in Tunis
Contacts:
Khalid Ibrahim, GCHR, khalid (@) gc4hr.org, mobile: +961 70159552
Or
Kristina Stockwood, IFEX Clearing House, stockwood (@) ifex.org, mobile: +216 50646393

Follow the mission on Twitter #BahrainMission