Bahrain Joint Submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review 27th Session of the UPR Working Group
1. (A) Introduction
1.1 CIVICUS is a global alliance of civil society organizations and activists dedicated to strengthening citizen action and civil society around the world. Founded in 1993, we proudly promote marginalised voices, especially from the Global South, and have members in more than 160 countries throughout the world.
1.2 The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization, registered with the Bahraini Ministry of Labor and Social Services since July 2002. BCHR documents and reports on human rights violations in Bahrain and uses this documentation for advocacy to ensure that policies are in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
1.3 The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) is an independent, non-profit and non-governmental organization that works to provide support and protection to human rights defenders in the Gulf region by promoting freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.
1.4 In this document, CIVICUS, BCHR and GCHR examine the Government of Bahrain’s compliance with its international human rights obligations to create and maintain a safe and enabling environment for civil society. Specifically, we analyse Bahrain’s fulfilment of the rights to freedom of association, assembly, and expression and unwarranted restrictions on human rights defenders (HRDs) since its previous UPR examination in May 2012. To this end, we assess Bahrain’s implementation of recommendations received during the 2nd UPR cycle relating to these issues and provide a number of specific, action-oriented follow-up recommendations to the Government of Bahrain.
1.5 During the 2nd UPR cycle, Bahrain received 40 recommendations relating to civic space. Of these recommendations, Bahrain accepted 37 and noted 3. An evaluation of a range of legal sources and human rights documentation addressed in subsequent sections of this submission demonstrate that the Government of Bahrain has only partially implemented 1 recommendation and has not implemented the remaining 39 recommendations. The failure of the government to take proactive steps to implement these recommendations is symptomatic of the Bahraini Government’s unwillingness to address unwarranted restrictions on the above mentioned rights/ civic space since its last UPR examination.
1.6 In particular, CIVICUS remains deeply concerned by the severe and continued restrictions on freedom of expression including the routine judicial persecution and harassment of individuals and groups for taking part in legitimate forms of dissent both online and offline.
1.7 CIVICUS is further alarmed by the targeting of human rights defenders, journalists, religious leaders, peaceful protesters and civil society representatives through reprisals, travel bans, prison sentences, torture and other unjustified limitations.
- In Section B, CIVICUS, BCHR and GCHR examine Bahrain’s implementation of UPR recommendations and compliance with international human rights standards concerning freedom of association.
- In Section C, CIVICUS, BCHR and GCHR examine Bahrain’s implementation of UPR recommendations and compliance with international human rights standards related to the protection of human rights defenders, civil society activists and journalists.
- In Section D, CIVICUS, BCHR and GCHR examine Bahrain’s implementation of UPR recommendations and compliance with international human rights standards concerning freedom of expression, independence of the media and access to information.
- In Section E, CIVICUS, BCHR and GCHR examine Bahrain’s implementation of UPR recommendations and compliance with international human rights standards related to freedom of assembly.
- In Section F, CIVICUS, BCHR and GCHR make a number of recommendations to address the concerns listed.
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