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Statement by Assistant Secretary Michael Posner at the UPR of Bahrain
September 19, 2012

Statement by the United States on the Adoption of the Bahrain UPR Report
Delivered by Michael Posner
Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor

at the 21st Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council

A man speaking behind an Etats-Unis plaque
Assistant Secretary Posner Speaking at the UPR of Bahrain

The United States welcomes the presence of the Bahraini delegation, led by Foreign Minister Shaykh Khalid bin Ahmad al-Khalifa. The Council has been an important forum to discuss developments in Bahrain. I also am encouraged to see the diverse representation from Bahraini civil society here today. Bahrain was the first country to undertake the UPR process, and the United States welcomed its second report.

At the review in May this year, several States called for the investigation and prosecution of official abuse during the period of unrest that began in early 2011. While official media have reported some initial progress on accountability, including charges brought against police officers announced earlier this week, much more needs to be done. The government needs to ensure accountability and also to make progress in other areas. These include the integration of the police to reflect the diversity of the society and reform of the security services, resolution of labor issues, including ensuring a role for free trade unions, and dismissal of criminal charges against all individuals who have engaged in peaceful political expression.

Today Bahrain is at a crossroads. The government showed great courage last year in commissioning and accepting the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) report, implementation of which 13 states recommended during the review. Ten months after the release of the report, however, we are concerned that the government is losing momentum on implementation. We urge you once again to fully and swiftly implement the BICI recommendations as well as those generated through the UPR process. This will help create an environment where meaningful dialogue can take place.