Middle East & North Africa

Bahrain | Human Rights Council must address intensifying crackdown

States should take action at the forthcoming September session of the UN Human Rights Council to address intensifying human rights violations in Bahrain, where arbitrary arrest, enforced disappearance, torture and ill treatment against human rights defenders, civil society members and political activists have become widespread.

The open letter, signed by a group of 11 leading Bahraini, regional and international NGOs, is addressed to States which have pledged to apply objective criteria to determine when and how to address grave human rights situations at the Council. It set out how the the situation in Bahrain manifestly fulfils those objective criteria and should trigger principled action by States, both individually and jointly, to prevent further violations.

ISHR Director Phil Lynch made the following statement on the release of the letter:

‘Human rights abuses – including arbitrary detention, torture and unfair trials of human rights defenders – have intensified significantly in Bahrain over the last year. These abuses have been documented and condemned by international human rights experts, including the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and a range of Special Rapporteurs. They show no signs of abating. States with a genuine commitment to preventative and effective responses to human rights violations should heed the experts and their warnings. They should honour their pledges to take principled action based on objective criteria. And they should take such action to protect rights holders and victims and to protect freedom and democracy in Bahrain. Without action, and without accountability, impunity will prevail, violations will worsen and the situation in Bahrain will rapidly spiral out of control.’


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HRC52: BENELUX names specific cases of reprisals, as called for by ISHR

To end impunity and ensure accountability for acts of harassment, reprisals, and intimidation against defenders who engage with UN mechanisms, ISHR has continued to call for States to raise specific cases when given the opportunity. During HRC52, BENELUX answered ISHR’s call, raising 6 specific cases of reprisals against defenders from Belarus, Burundi, Cameroon, China, Egypt, and Venezuela.

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