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UPR Media Briefing Note

Monday, 21 May 2012 (Morning)

State under review

Represented by 38-member delegation headed by Dr. Salah Bin Ali Mohamed  ABDULRAHMAN, Minister of State For Human Rights of Bahrain.


To access national report, compilation of UN information, and summary of stakeholders’ information, visit Bahrain page on UPR website.

Troika *

Uruguay, Saudi Arabia, Spain.

Opening statement by State under review

Key points from opening statement of State under review:

  • Recalling that Bahrain was the first State to be reviewed by the UPR mechanism of the Human Rights Council in April 2008, noted that the State had accepted all the recommendations posed to it at their first review;
  • Several advances have been made in the area of the empowerment of women in the public sector; noted the establishment of the Supreme Council for Women; Government also aspiring to enact two laws on the protection of children and on domestic violence which were currently before Parliament
  • The State was currently reviewing amendments to the Law on Citizenship to ensure that those who married a Bahraini could obtain citizenship, for both men and women;
  • Bahrain has adopted several laws to uphold the rights of foreign workers and has set up a commission to introduce of plan of action to enhance labour rights; a law has also been introduced to ensure the right of workers to strike;
  • The State has adopted an overall strategy to improve the security apparatus in the State and has revised security procedures to ensure that there was a respect for human rights; State has carried out investigations into the abuse of power of security officials with the aim of preventing furthers cases;  has established a training programme on human rights for law enforcement officials; has introduced an office of the ombudsman;
  • Bahrain has enacted a number of reforms following the events in the country of last February and March; the King has adopted radical measures and has taken progressive steps to overcome the repercussion of these events; has called for a dialogue for national consensus; 
  • The State has also set up the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) which has drawn up recommendations many of which have already been applied; the Commission has called for a follow up to these recommendations; the State has also established a special fund for compensation to the victims of recent incidents; generally, the State has adopted reconciliation efforts in light of events of 2011.

(See full statement onBahrain page on UPR Extranet)


In total, 67 States participated in the discussion:  32 HRC members and 35 observers  (Statements available on UPR Extranet).

Positive achievements

Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:

  • The establishment of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI);
  • Accession to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities;
  • Anti-trafficking policy and steps to ensure the rights of migrant workers;
  • Reforms carried out in field of security including human rights training for law enforcement officials;
  • Setting up of the Office of the Ombudsman;

Issues and Questions

Main issues and questions raised by the Working Group:

  • Several delegations expressed concerned about human rights violations vis-à-vis the events of February and March 2011;
  • The numbers of those detained during protests and high number of persons in detention in general and the steps taken by the State to effectively prosecute human rights abuses during last year’s unrest;
  • Lack of accountability for alleged acts of torture;
  • Restrictions for international NGOs;
  • Programmes and initiatives taken to provide educational opportunities for persons with disabilities;
  • Amendments to strengthen the rule of law;
  • Laws to combat the trafficking of persons;
  • Steps to guarantee the rights of domestic workers.


In total, States participating in the discussion posed a series of recommendations to Bahrain.  These included, among others: 

  • Several States recommended that Bahrain immediately implement the recommendations of the BICI and to establish an adequate time frame for this;
  • To take immediate actions to restore peace and ensure the respect of all human rights in view of the recent events in the country and those from February and March 2011;
  • To respect the rights of all citizens to freedom of expression and assembly;
  • To urgently conduct new trials of all defendants convicted in military courts;
  • To prosecute security agents who have tortured protesters and to develop new legislation to guarantee the accountability of security forces for human rights violations;
  • To enhance training for law enforcement officials; 
  • To invite the Special Rapporteur on torture;
  • To establish a standing body to investigate all acts of torture and
  • To ratify the optional protocol to CEDAW, the OPCAT, the Convention of Enforced Disappearances; and the Rome Statute on the ICC;
  • To establish a moratorium on the death penalty; 
  • To release prison detainees imprisoned in connection with the freedom of expression;
  • To accept the visit of the Special Rapporteur on the right to peaceful assembly
  • To amend the penal code and the press law to bring it in line with article 19 of the ICCPR
  • To guarantee the rights of person with disabilities and to revise national legislation and awareness raising programmes to do away with discrimination against children with disabilities;
  • Take further steps to advance women’s rights and promote gender equality and to pursue the enactment of law to safeguard the position of women in society;
  • To take steps to grant citizenship to children of Bahraini mothers in the same fashion as Bahraini fathers;
  • To step up efforts to protect the rights of migrant workers. 

Adoption of report of Working Group

The adoption of the report of the UPR Working Group is scheduled to take place on Friday, 25 May 2012.

The troikas are a group of three States selected through a drawing of lots who serve as rapporteurs and who are charged with preparing the report of the Working Group on the country review with the involvement of the State under review and assistance from the OHCHR.