UN rights chief urges Bahrain government to investigate protester deaths News
UN rights chief urges Bahrain government to investigate protester deaths

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein [official profile] called on the Government of Bahrain [press release] on Friday to investigate the deaths of five protesters that occurred during a security operation last week. The protesters were killed and 286 individuals were arrested when Bahraini security forces were conducting an operation concerning a sit-in held by supporters of Sheikh Isa Qassem, the highest Shia authority in Bahrain, in the Al-Diraz Area. Those who died were buried without their families’ consent and without customary funeral traditions aligned with their culture, an act which the High Commissioner called “disturbing.” Zeid also expressed the need for those who are being detained for “peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and assembly” to be released and “treated with full respect for their rights, including due process.”

Bahrain has had their human rights record questioned multiple times in recently. Earlier this week a Bahrain court dissolved a major political party that has opposed the current government, an act that Amnesty International [advocacy website] said [JURIST report] is a step towards total suppression of human rights. In March Bahrain’s upper house of parliament approved [JURIST report] a constitutional amendment that would allow military trials for civilians accused of being involved in terrorism plots. In September 2015 32 nations joined [JURIST report] a statement to the UN urging Bahrain to protect freedom of peaceful assembly and speech, and to investigate reports of torture used on prisoners. In April 2015 a human rights group said [JURIST report] that Bahrain’s post-2011 reforms had failed to put a stop to human rights violations including illegal detentions and torture. And in February 2015 the Bahrain Ministry of the Interior started [JURIST report] a criminal investigation against a political opposition group for allegedly illegal content posted on social media