Manama: Bahrain has criticised a statement on the human rights situation in the country read out at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session in Geneva, saying that it didn’t take into account improvements made.
The statement was issued on Tuesday at the 26th session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in the Swiss city.
“The delegation attending the session hit back at the Swiss representative who read a joint statement on behalf of a group of European countries, citing a number of allegations regarding the situation of human rights in Bahrain,” the Bahraini delegation said. “While acknowledging the positive steps undertaken by the Government of Bahrain to consolidate human rights, the statement failed to take into account the tangible improvements officially documented in a series of reports issued since the beginning of this year.”
The report said that the countries issuing the statement “welcomed the positive steps taken by the Government of Bahrain in order to improve the human rights situation.”
The statement referred in particular to the establishment of the Office of the Police Ombudsman, the Special Investigation Unit, the Prisoners’ and Detainees’ Rights Commission and the creation of a National Institution for Human Rights.
“We urge these institutions to proactively fulfil their mandate and encourage the Government to uphold the commitment to these institutions and their independence. We also welcome the recent report of the Ministry of Interior Ombudsman,” the statement said.
“We note with satisfaction that a recent visit of the OHCHR took place this year and that public consultations between all stakeholders, including civil society were conducted during the visit. We welcome the fact that the OHCHR was allowed to visit prisons and could support the parliament in the creation of the National Human Rights Commission to be in conformity with Paris Principles,” the statement said.
It added that there was concern about the situation in Bahrain and about cases of violence, harassment and imprisonment, and wanted the government to “appropriately address reports of ill-treatment.”
“We call upon the Government to address these concerns and to expedite the full implementation of the recommendations received from the BICI,” the statement said, referring to the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, the international panel set by King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa to look into the dramatic events that unfolded in Bahrain in February and March 2011.
However, the delegation in Geneva rejected the claims and in a counter statement, it cited particularly the report issued in February by the unit in charge of following up the implementation of the BICI recommendations.
“The statement undermines the unrelenting and sincere efforts undertaken by the Kingdom of Bahrain to carry out human rights obligations, whether locally or internationally”, the delegation said, citing Bahrain’s commitment to implement the BICI recommendations and submit, of its own accord, a periodical report on the implementation of the periodical review recommendations.
The delegation said that it “deplored the fact that the joint statement put the chaos perpetrated by terrorists and extremists on par with the commitment of the security forces to utmost self-restraint when dealing with terrorist attacks endangering their lives as well as the lives of citizens and residents.”
“Extremists find in such statements an excuse to continue crisis-mongering and political and security escalation in Bahrain”, the delegation said, urging the UNHRC member countries to ensure the accuracy of their information about the situation in Bahrain before issuing statements that are based on subjective and inaccurate allegations.
It also called on UNHRC member countries to engage a bilateral and multilateral constructive dialogue with Bahrain and “take into account the efforts undertaken by the Government of Bahrain and its diplomatic mission to update them on human rights developments in Bahrain.”
Thee delegation said that it “reiterated Bahrain’s commitment to continue efforts to achieve progress and foster human rights, regardless of the stances of some countries, and despite the terrorist escalation.”