STATEMENT
Index and rights groups report condemns ongoing human rights violations in Bahrain
24 Jan 2012
BY SARA YASIN

An IFEX-organised international mission tomorrow releases a report asking Bahraini officials to deliver on reform promises

24 January 2012 – Tunis/London

A mission report by six international organisation who travelled to Bahrain last November accuses the Bahraini authorities of failing to deliver on promises of reform, despite a highly-touted commission of inquiry. Bahrain has now experienced almost a year of turmoil, as the anniversary of unrest, 14 February, draws near. Despite promises of change, rights violations continue on a daily basis, and individuals jailed during the government crackdown in February and March remain in prison.

The report, Justice Denied in Bahrain: Freedom of Expression and Assembly Curtailed, outlines human rights violations linked 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.

Bahrain’s government appears to be more concerned with maintaining the façade of a modern Arab nation, rather than listening to the demands of a popular uprising. Citizens have been prosecuted for expressing their views peacefully. Bahraini officials have crushed free speech.
Sara Yasin, editorial assistant at Index on Censorship

Expectations of change in Bahrain were raised by the publication of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) report at the end of November (witnessed by the mission) and its recommendations for reform. However the reality on the ground 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 despite the recommendations made in the BICI report.

It seems that despite the BICI report’s extensive catalogue of abuses against Bahraini citizens including torture, and a clear condemnation of the culture of impunity, the government of Bahrain is intent on maintaining the status quo. We are not seeing the immediate release of prisoners. Instead there is an interminable succession of postponed trials.
Marian Botsford Fraser, chair of the Writers in Prison Committee, PEN International

The 11 recommendations made in the report, 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.

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).

International mission to Bahrain report

The full international mission report is online here, it will be launched today (24 January) at 17:30-19:00, Free Word Centre, London

Please contact Sara Yasin, Index on Censorship for more information.
[email protected], tel +44 (0) 207 324 2532, mobile +44 (0) 7805 062 485
Follow the mission on Twitter #BahrainMission

7 responses to “Index and rights groups report condemns ongoing human rights violations in Bahrain”

  1. […] revokes citizenship of 31 activists Bahrain is preparing for the first anniversary of the Bahrain Independent Commission for Inquiry (BICI) by placing even greater restrictions on free expression. A Bahraini woman holds up the victory […]

  2. […] November Bahrain released the findings of its much vaunted Independent Commission for Inquiry (BICI) but the country’s sluggish progress in implementing the report’s recommendations […]

  3. […] time we went, we were there for the presentation of report by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry […]

  4. […] The Bahrain Independent Commission for Inquiry (BICI) was created by King Hamad to investigate human rights violations in the months following the start of unrest on 14 February last year. The Commission’s report, released on 23 November, was met with scepticism from activists and members of civil society. I went to Bahrain for the report’s launch, hoping it would prove more than an elaborate PR exercise. Although government officials are quick to point to the number of committees established and the long list of international experts enlisted in helping the regime move past the problems of last year, there has been no real progress. Not a single senior figure has been held to account. […]

  5. […] reforms, after all, there are air shows to organise and a Grand Prix to hold. The United Kingdom said they would push Bahrain to implement recommendations made by the Bahrain Independent Commission for […]

  6. […] mission investigated the state of free expression in Bahrain. We detailed our findings in a  report released this week. In meetings with officials from the Ministry of Human Rights, the mission was […]

  7. […] A mission report by six international organisation who travelled to Bahrain last November accuses the Bahraini authorities of failing to deliver on promises of reform, despite a highly-touted commission of inquiry. Bahrain has now experienced almost a year of turmoil, as the anniversary of unrest, 14 February, draws near. Despite promises of change, rights violations continue on a daily basis, and individuals jailed during the government crackdown in February and March remain in prison: here. […]