Bahrain government has failed to address human rights violations: AI

Bahrain government has failed to address human rights violations: AI

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[JURIST] Human rights violations continue [press release] in Bahrain [BBC backgrounder] despite reforms, Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] reported [text, PDF] Tuesday. After the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) [official website] released a report [JURIST report] in November concerning human rights violations committed against anti-government protesters, the Bahraini government responded through reforms. However, AI’s recent report criticized these efforts because they have failed to end human rights violations. Rather, AI claims, they have been “piecemeal reforms” dealing only with the surface of the problem adding nothing to the resolution of the inhuman actions against civilians. AI found that even after the reforms were implemented, use of excessive force by police and other security officers, including Public Security Forces, National Security Agency and Bahrain Defence Forces, continued in suppressing the February-March 2011 protests [JURIST report]. The main reason for such ongoing human rights violation was the lack of political will:

The Bahraini government has so far failed to ensure accountability that guarantees truth, justice and adequate reparation for the victims of arbitrary arrests, torture and unfair trials, as well as for those injured during protests, or the relatives of those killed. Hardly any efforts have been made to implement recommendations relating to national reconciliation, ending discrimination against the Shi’a community, especially in the security and armed forces and ending incitement to hatred in the government-controlled media. The government has dedicated significant resources to appoint international experts to investigate human rights violations committed during and after the February and March 2011 antigovernment protests and to provide advice on human rights reforms.

AI wanred that failure to implement recommendations would turn the BICI report into “nothing more than a public relations exercise.”

In early March, based on a report of excessive force by Bahraini security forces, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights [official website] called on the government [JURIST report] to investigate the allegations. During that same month, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] released a report, similar to the report by BICI about human rights violations against demonstrators, alleging that Bahrain is convicting hundreds of opposition activists [JURIST report] in unfair and politically motivated trials. In February, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] also urged the Bahraini government to respect protesters’ rights [JURIST report] and stressed that excessive use of force by the government against civilian demonstrators is strictly forbidden in international law. Pillay made a similar call to the government in December when she said that protesters who were detained during peaceful protests should be released [JURIST report].