Demonstrators and members of civil society today face severe restrictions to their rights of free assembly and association. Violence against them remains a real threat. Human rights defenders – and indeed anyone who exercises their expressive rights – is at serious risk of harassment or imprisonment. Impunity for those who have committed human rights violations remains all to common.
During the 24th session of the Human Rights Council on September 9, 2013, a group of more than 45 countries issued a joint statement regarding this situation. The statement calls upon Bahrain authorities to address these human rights concerns, and to expedite the implementation of reforms. The group also called upon Bahrain to enhance its cooperation with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, to allow for a fully comprehensive collaboration, including an OHCHR follow-up mission.
Lastly, the statement urged the Government of Bahrain to cooperate with the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council, in particular the Special Rapporteur on torture, the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association and the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, together with any other Special Procedures that request to visit Bahrain and reschedule previously planned visits.
The full statement is available here.
The special rapporteur’s office has sent a total of 20 joint communications to the government of Bahrain about ongoing restrictions on the freedoms of assembly and association. Communications from 2011-12 and 2012-13 can be accessed via this site.