U.S. Statement at the Universal Periodic Review of Bahrain
Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review (UPR)
13th Working Group Session
UPR Intervention for Bahrain
May 21, 2012
The United States warmly welcomes Minister of State for Human Rights Affairs HE Dr. Abdellrahman and the Bahrain delegation to the UPR Working Group
We commend Bahrain for creating the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, appointing a national commission to coordinate implementation of its recommendations and for implementing a number of those recommendations. However, we are concerned that the government has not implemented several of the most important of those recommendations.
We commend the Government for making progress on public sector reinstatements and look forward to their full completion. We welcome the agreement endorsed by the International Labor Organization and signed by the Tripartite Committee members in early March to address the reinstatement of dismissed workers. We hope this cooperation continues.
We remained concerned by the failure of state institutions to effectively investigate and prosecute alleged human rights abuses and to ensure accountability of officials at all levels of responsibility implicated in abuse, torture or death of civilians during last year’s unrest.
We are also concerned about ongoing detention and trials of hundreds of those who participated in peaceful anti-government protests. We draw particular attention to the ongoing prosecutions of 20 medical professionals and Abdulhadi al-Khawaja.
We note with concern the increase of violent clashes between protesters and riot police. We condemn the use of Molotov cocktails and other lethal means by some of the protesters. We also are greatly concerned by the excessive use of force by the police and their increased use of tear gas and bird shot ammunition.
We are concerned by restrictions on international NGOs and journalists working in Bahrain, including limited access and sometimes denial of entry into the country.
Bearing in mind these concerns, the United States makes the following recommendations:
- Review convictions, commute sentences, or drop charges for all persons who engaged in non-violent political expression.
- Create a more diverse, inclusive police force, reflective of society, and establish an independent police commission to advise on best practices and respect for human rights.
- Prosecute officials at all levels of responsibility who are implicated in abuse, torture or death of civilians during the period of unrest.