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HRC 34: French Intervention, General debate (item 4)

On 14 March at the 34th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, France issued a statement to highlight a few specific human rights issues. The French intervention focused on the situation of civilians in armed conflicts and crisis areas, the situation of human rights defenders and the use of the death penalty. Bahrain was mentioned in the section on the death penalty, in which France expresses its deep concern. 

See the full statement in French below.

 

Monsieur le Haut-Commissaire,

La France s’associe à la déclaration de l’UE, et souhaite faire part de certaines préoccupations spécifiques qui touchent à la fois la situation des civils dans les conflits armés ou dans les zones de crises, la situation des défenseurs des droits ou encore le recours à la peine de mort.

(1) Dans les conflits armés, les civils sont victimes de violations systématiques des droits de l’homme et du droit international humanitaire. Je ne citerai que deux cas qui sont dramatiquement d’actualité : en Syrie, nous exigeons que le régime ne prenne plus les civils pour cibles. Au Yémen, nous appelons toutes les parties à respecter les droits de l’Homme et le droit international humanitaire.

(2) Les violations des droits de l’Homme ne se limitent toutefois pas aux pays en guerre, qu’il s’agisse de violations systématiques des libertés fondamentales, comme en Corée du Nord, ou de situations politiques très dégradées comme au Burundi, en République démocratique du Congo et au Soudan du Sud.

Nous sommes aussi préoccupés par les exactions menées par des groupes armés contre les populations civiles comme dans les pays du bassin du Lac Tchad. Enfin, la lutte contre le terrorisme doit être menée dans le respect des droits de l’Homme et des libertés fondamentales, je pense notamment à l’Egypte.

(3) La France est aussi très inquiète des atteintes et des menaces qui pèsent sur la société civile et les activités des défenseurs des droits, notamment en Chine, en Russie, en Turquie, et au Venezuela. Loin des projecteurs qui suivent les zones de guerre, ils ne doivent pas être oubliés.

(4) Je voudrais enfin rappeler notre profonde préoccupation quant au recours persistant à la peine de mort, notamment en Chine, en Iran, en Arabie Saoudite, au Pakistan, en Irak, et aux Etats-Unis, ou à la reprise des exécutions au Nigéria, à Bahreïn, au Koweït ou en Jordanie. La France est également préoccupée par l’augmentation du nombre des victimes des exécutions extrajudiciaires aux Philippines.

Nous continuerons enfin à agir de façon déterminée pour faire respecter l’interdiction absolue de la torture et des mauvais traitements.

Je vous remercie./.

A Year in Review: Spiraling Repression in Bahrain

Written statement submitted by the Alsalam Foundation, a non-governmental organization in special consultative status

Alsalam Foundation, together with Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB), the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), and the European Center for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR) would like to take this opportunity at the 34th Session of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council (HRC) to discuss intensified violations of the rights to freedom of expression, assembly, association, and belief in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

In the past year, the Bahraini government has carried out extrajudicial executions, suppressed political opposition societies, judicially harassed dozens of Shia religious leaders, further restricted independent media, and targeted activists for reprisal. Together, these actions represent an escalation of repression unprecedented since the 2011 State of National Safety.

Read the full statement here

Bahrain: on the brink of human rights crisis

Written statement submitted by Amnesty International, a non-governmental organization in special consultative status

Resumption of executions

Amnesty International is alarmed by the resumption of executions in Bahrain after a nearly seven-year hiatus, and condemns the execution of Ali Abdulshaheed al-Sankis, Sami Mirza Mshaima and Abbas Jamil Taher on 15 January 2017. They were sentenced to death after an unfair trial in relation to the killing of three policemen.

Mohamed Ramadhan Issa Ali Hussain and Hussain Ali Moosa Hussain Mohamed are now at imminent risk of execution; both were sentenced to death after an unfair trial in relation to the killing of a policeman.

Excessive use of force and clampdown on peaceful assembly

The 15 January executions sparked protests in over 20 villages across Bahrain, with hundreds of people taking part. While some of the protests have been peaceful, others have been violent.

Amnesty International is concerned about the Bahraini authorities’ use of excessive force in response to these protests. Security forces have used tear gas and shotguns firing birdshot against protesters and, in some cases, less-lethal riot control ammunition and live ammunition. Scores of protesters have been injured and many have been arrested. 

Read the full statement here

HRC34: Denmark directs Human Rights Council’s attention to human rights situation in Syria, Bahrain, OPT/Israel, Egypt, Iran, South Sudan, Myanmar, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Eastern Ukraine & illegally annexed Crimea

UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
34th Session
Item 4: General Debate
Statement by Denmark

Thank you, Mr. President
Denmark fully aligns itself with the EU statement.
We are deeply concerned with the immense suffering of the Syrian people. We strongly condemn the Syrian regime’s continuous violations of international humanitarian and human rights law for which it must be held accountable

Continued settlement expansion and the human rights implications of demolitions and confiscations remain at odds with Israel’s international obligations, including UN Security Council Resolutions.
We reiterate our call for the release of all arbitrarily detained persons in Bahrain, including the Danish-Bahraini citizen Mr. Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja; A victim of torture who needs treatment and rehabilitation. 
We reiterate our encouragement to Egypt to take further steps to ensure the respect for fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution, including providing for an enabling environment for CSOs.
We remain concerned with the ongoing human rights violations in Iran. The high number of executions, including of juvenile offenders and the use of physical punishment in Iran, is alarming.
The man-made catastrophe in South Sudan is of utmost concern to us. Lack of humanitarian access, grave human rights violation and war atrocities committed by government and other warring forces must come to an end. 
While strongly supporting the democratic transition in Myanmar, we are deeply concerned about the serious human rights violations allegedly carried out by the security forces.
We continue to urge the government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to take immediate steps to halt all human rights violations in the country.
Denmark remains deeply concerned by the deteriorating human rights situation in the eastern Ukraine and in the illegally annexed Crimea. Human rights actors and monitors should be granted free access and humanitarian access ensured.

Thank you

Access the statement here

A challenge to Bahrain's rulers from an ex-MP: Let's talk

It’s been six years since Bahrain’s crown prince set out a vision of reform. The country was three weeks into mass protests, as the Arab Spring inspired thousands of ordinary Bahrainis to take to the streets to demand a political system based on inclusion rather than marginalisation. It was a brief glimpse into a possibility of a modern, liberal constitutional monarchy, the first of its kind in the Gulf.

Read the full article here

Bahrain's top Shi'ite Muslim cleric trial postponed till May

A Bahraini court on Tuesday delayed a ruling in the trial of the spiritual leader of the country's Shi'ite Muslim majority on charges of collecting funds illegally and money laundering, local media reported.

Ayatollah Isa Qassim, who is in his mid-70s, faces up to 15 years in jail if convicted in the trial that has ratcheted up tensions in the Western-allied Gulf Arab state where the U.S. Fifth Fleet is based.

Continue reading here

Human Rights Council should take action on Bahrain, the Philippines, and Turkey

Human Rights Watch is deeply concerned about the many serious human rights situations on which this Council has failed to take any meaningful action:

The situation in Bahrain deteriorated further in the latter half of 2016. The government has intensified its attacks on rights to freedom of expression, assembly, and association, including dissolution of the country’s main opposition group, Al-Wifaq, arbitrary stripping of citizenship from Bahrainis who have been critical of the government, and subjecting civil society actors to arbitrary travel bans. Authorities also made little progress in holding officials accountable for the mistreatment and torture of detainees. Emboldened by the silence of the international community, during this session of the Council alone the Bahraini authorities once again postponed the trial of human rights defender Nabeel Rajab, who remains in jail and faces charges that violate his right to free speech, and the Shura council approved an amendment to the constitution that will allow for civilians to be tried in military courts. The Council should immediately take collective action to address the worsening situation in Bahrain.

Continue reading here

Saudi Arms Deal Would Fan Flames of Conflict

Amnesty International this week urged President Trump not to approve impending arms sales to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. The deals would arm members of a military coalition that has attacked thousands of civilians in Yemen and violated international humanitarian law. Amnesty International researchers have already found both unexploded U.S. bombs and identifiable fragments of exploded U.S. bombs among the ruins of Yemeni homes and other civilian objects.

Letter to President Donald Trump

Continue reading here

Trump is letting human rights deteriorate, and Bahrain is Exhibit A

IF THERE is an Exhibit A for how the ascent of the Trump administration is leading to the deterioration of human rights in other countries, it is Bahrain — an island kingdom in the Persian Gulf that is the host of the U.S. 5th Fleet. Since 2011, when its majority-Shiite population revolted during the Arab Spring, the Sunni monarchy has engaged in serial campaigns of repression, interspersed with gestures at liberalization aimed at appeasing the United States.

Read the full article here

Bahrain: Nabeel Rajab trial postponed until 16 April

The trial of jailed Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab on charges of spreading “rumours and false news” was deferred for a second time on 7 March until 16 April. The charges relate to televised interviews in 2014 and 2015 in which he criticised authorities. In the meantime, he remains in detention after being denied bail.

Read more here