The United States Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Council, Amanda Donahoe, addressed the human rights situation in Bahrain in her statement to the Council yesterday.
The Government of Bahrain has taken steps to implement the recommendations made by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), but it must fully implement the remaining important recommendations. For example, it needs to hold accountable officials responsible for human rights violations, including deaths in custody resulting from torture, to drop charges against all persons accused of crimes based on their political expression, and to ensure fair and expeditious trials in appeals cases, such as those of the medical professionals. The Government of Bahrain also needs to prevent the use of excessive force by the police and to diversify police forces to reflect the communities in which they serve. We also urge the Government to respect its citizens’ rights to free expression, free association and free assembly, and to facilitate access to Bahrain for journalists and civil society organizations.
Across the Middle East, and around the world, governments are being called on to ensure the human rights and aspirations of their citizens, to follow through on their promises to uphold those rights, and to hold accountable those who have committed serious human rights violations – including by effectively prosecuting officials responsible for those violations. The international community stands ready to assist those who seek our help.
Today as we bear witness to the tides of change and progress currently underway in the Middle East and North Africa, we urge governments to recommit themselves to their most imperative responsibility: the protection and promotion of human rights for each and every citizen.
The Bahrain Coordinating Committee is grateful to Ambassador Donahoe for her statement, and is gratified that the people of Bahrain have her support and that of the UN Human Rights Council. We call on the government of Bahrain to accept her offer of assistance to institute needed reforms without delay.