Amnesty int'l: Bahrain: Promises of reform broken, repression unleashed

21 November 2012

Bahrain is facing a stark choice between the rule of law, or sliding into a downward spiral of repression and instability, Amnesty International warned in a new briefing today.

The briefing Bahrain: reform shelved, repression unleashed comes days before the first anniversary of a landmark report by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), which was established by the country’s authorities to investigate abuses during the 2011 anti-government protests.

At a Glance

- A year ago, the government pleged to implement human rights reforms following a landmark report - Repression followed instead, and by this October all rallies and gatherings had been banned - Bahraini nationality has been stripped from 31 opposition figures - The groundbreaking Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) has effectively been shelved

Read Amnesty Int'l Report

HRW: Bahrain: Promises Unkept, Rights Still Violated

(Beirut) – Bahraini authorities have failed to carry out the key recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), which submitted its recommendations on accountability and other human rights issues a year ago. The commission concluded that security forces and other government authorities had committed serious and systematic human rights violations in connection with the government’s suppression of pro-democracy protests in 2011.

“Bahrain deservedly got a lot of credit for appointing an independent body to assess the government’s violations, but a year later, authorities have still not carried out the key recommendations,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “In fact, in many ways Bahrain’s human rights situation has only deteriorated since the king accepted the commission’s findings and recommendations.”

Read full HRW release

Human Rights First: One Year Later, Bahrain Reform Remains Shallow Promise

The situation in Bahrain is sliding in a frightening direction. The United States Government must urgently reassess its position. The U.S. presence in Bahrain is based on its strategic interests in the region. But if it continues to publicly support the King and give only muted support to human rights defenders and peaceful protestors, those strategic interests could land the U.S. with a violent conflict. U.S. interests explained why the administration gave the Bahraini regime a chance to reform, but now those same interests must guide the U.S. government to acknowledge that the Kingdom failed, and it needs a new strategy. Now it’s time for the United States to get more public and more specific. It should immediately and publicly call for the release of political prisoners and introduce visa bans on those it believes responsible for violations until Bahrain demonstrates a real commitment to reform and an end to abuses. It should also appoint a senior representative to advocate for US interests in Bahrain, and to engage with the regional players who also have an interest in Bahrain’s stability.

Read the full release of HRF

ADHRB: Failing Grade: A Report Card on the Status of BICI Implementation

ADHRB released two publications that provide an assessment of the current status of implementation of recommendations made by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI). The first is a report card which assesses, in basic terms, the progress made by the Government of Bahrain in implementing the BICI recomemndations, noting that only 25 of the 26 BICI recommendations have been fully implemented. The second publication, titled “Failing Grade: A Report Card on the Status of BICI Implementation,” offers a deeper analysis of the implementation status. ADHRB’s publications come on the eve of the one-year anniversary of the BICI report, which was issued on November 23, 2011.

Read full release from ADHRB

BJDM: 365 Days of Broken Promises – Violations after the BICI

Bahrain Justice and Development Movement Report takes the form of a timeline of violations that have taken place in Bahrain since the publication of the BICI, as documented by activists, human rights groups and others.

Read full report

POMED: Assessing Bahrain’s Implementation of the BICI Report

Photo Credit: Jennifer Love King

The Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) has released, “One Year Later: Assessing Bahrain’s Implementation of the BICI Report,” a report looking into the Bahraini government’s progress in implementing the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry. POMED has found that the Government of Bahrain has fully implemented three of the BICI report’s 26 recommendations. Two other recommendations were impossible to properly evaluate due to a lack of available information, and we have found 15 recommendations to have only been only partially implemented. Finally, the government has made no meaningful progress toward six of the recommendations, which POMED believes are the most important steps that need to be taken – accountability for officials responsible for torture and severe human rights violations, the release of political prisoners, prevention of sectarian incitement, in addition to the relaxation of censorship and controls on free expression.

To access the full report, please click here.