A top UN body has been accused of turning a blind eye to Iran-funded terrorism and violence in Bahrain while being critical of the kingdom’s rights record.
Members of the UN Human Rights Committee (HRC) also did not reach out to Bahrain-based civil societies to verify claims of “gaps” on the kingdom’s political and civil fronts, it was alleged.
The HRC reviewed Bahrain’s first-ever International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) report in Geneva last week.
The report was compiled in co-ordination with 21 Bahrain-based civil societies which held three consultative meetings with the Foreign Ministry.
However, none of these societies were contacted by any of the HRC members, alleged Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society (BHRWS) general secretary Faisal Fulad.
He also questioned the credibility of the societies who submitted shadow reports on Bahrain to the HRC, including the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) and Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB).
“These societies, which the HRC members referred to as ‘trustworthy sources’, are not Bahrain-based,” Mr Fulad told the GDN.
“The societies, which were reportedly invited to submit shadow reports on Bahrain to the HRC, have no credibility.
“They are politicised organisations located outside Bahrain; how can they be sources for Bahrain’s ICCPR?
“These societies are hiding behind political interests which are not related to the promotion of human rights in Bahrain.”
On Wednesday, the GDN reported on Assistant Foreign Minister Abdulla Al Dossary’s response to a claim by HRC member Olivier de Frouville at the 123rd session of the committee.
Mr Frouville said the ICCPR report was delayed and contrasted on “rhetoric and facts” and also claimed a “great deal of information” from “trustworthy sources” indicated “increased repression” regarding human rights situation in Bahrain since 2016.
Mr Al Dossary underlined that the “seriousness and credibility of these sources” were debatable.
“When HRC discusses Bahrain’s report it must consider terrorism and violence funded by Iran,” said Mr Fulad.
“Why did it ignore these facts widely reported in the Press by Bahrain-based civil societies?
“When it referred to shadow reports by organisations like BIRD, ADHRB and inputs from Amnesty, which are known for non-neutrality and lack of transparency, it did not mention the BHRWS or the National Institution of Human Rights.”
In response to Mr Frouville’s demand for a “detailed explanation” on “civil society participation” in the preparation of the report, Mr Al Dossary said 21 societies participated which, he said, was the procedure adopted by Bahrain when it prepared all its international reports including the Convention Against Torture and the Universal Periodic Review.
“Many consultation meetings were held with civil societies, while the Foreign Ministry delegation engaged in three meetings – 13 societies were present in the first, 17 in the second and 21 in the third.
“Most of them submitted their shadow reports and some of them presented their observations on the floor as well.
“This is the pattern that we follow in cases of all such reports.
“We believe in the partnership between the government and NGOs.
“The Supreme Co-ordination Committee oversees the preparation of the report which is done in co-ordination with representatives from the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Justice and Islamic Affairs, Interior, Social and Labour Development, Information Affairs and Education, Supreme Council for Women, National Security Apparatus, the Ombudsman, the Special Investigation Unit and other stake-holders.”
Source » gdnonline