News Multiple Mechanisms
Human Rights Council Adopts Universal Periodic Review Outcome of Bahrain
24 March 2023
MORNING 24 March 2023
Council Concludes General Debate on Human Rights Bodies and Mechanisms
The Human Rights Council this morning adopted the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Bahrain. It also concluded the general debate on agenda item five on human rights bodies and mechanisms.
The Council adopted the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Bahrain. The President said of the 245 recommendations received, 172 enjoyed the support of Bahrain, and 73 were noted.
Speaking in the Universal Periodic Review of Bahrain were Gambia, India, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Libya, Maldives, Mauritania, Morocco, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia.
Also speaking were Alsalam Foundation, International Human Rights Association of American Minorities, Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain Inc., Iraqi Development Organization, International Council Supporting Fair Trial and Human Rights, Khiam Rehabilitation Centre for Victims of Torture, Human Rights Watch, Advocates for Human Rights, Amnesty International, and Africa Culture Internationale.
At the beginning of the meeting, the Council continued the general debate on human rights bodies and mechanisms, which began yesterday. A summary can be viewed here.
In the general debate, many speakers commended the work of the Special Procedures. Many greatly valued the contribution of the Human Rights Council’s human rights bodies and mechanisms and acknowledged the role they played in assisting States in implementing their international human rights obligations. Some speakers reiterated the importance of allowing Special Rapporteurs and Independent Experts to carry out their work independently and safely, within a framework of cooperation and respect. It was regretful that some States refused to allow them entry into the country and hampered access to information, which significantly limited the international community's ability to cooperate in preventing or assisting with possible human rights violations.
Some speakers maintained that the communications and reports of the human rights bodies should be based on verifiable and reliable sources, with ground realities being properly assessed. The mandate holders of the Special Procedures were urged to carry out their work in strict adherence to the Code of Conduct, in accordance with Council resolution 5/2, through dialogue and cooperation, in a transparent and impartial manner, without selectivity, politicisation or double standards.
Speaking in the general debate were Costa Rica, India, Nepal, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Georgia, Gambia, Algeria, South Africa, Bolivia, Cuba, Pakistan, Tunisia, Russian Federation, Venezuela, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Iraq, Armenia, Austria, Uganda, Libya, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Ghana, Iran, and Cambodia.
Also speaking were Action Canada for Population and Development, Sikh Human Rights Group, Minority Rights Group, YouChange China Social Entrepreneur Foundation, Friends World Committee for Consultation, Next Century Foundation, Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression, Federation of Western Thrace Turks in Europe, China Ethnic Minorities’ Association for External Exchanges, Legal Analysis and Research Public Union, Rajasthan Samgrah Kalyan Sansthan, Al Baraem Association for Charitable Work, The International Humanitarian Society for Development Without Borders, Réseau Unité pour le Développement de Mauritanie, Integrated Youth Empowerment - Common Initiative Group, Associazione Comunita Papa Giovanni XXIII, Organization for Poverty Alleviation and Development, Amnesty International, Association MIMAN, iuventum e.V., Union of Northwest Human Rights Organisation, Institute for Reporters' Freedom and Safety, International Service for Human Rights, Human Is Right, Association pour l'Intégration et le Développement Durable au Burundi, World Barua Organization, Villages Unis (United Villages), Association pour la défense des droits de l'homme et des revendications démocratiques/culturelles du peuple Azerbaidjanais-Iran, Africa Culture Internationale, International Action for Peace and Sustainable Development, International Muslim Women's Union, Asociacion Cubana de las Naciones Unidas (Cuban United Nations Association), International Human Rights Association of American Minorities, World Muslim Congress, and Organisation pour la Communication en Afrique et de Promotion de la Cooperation Economique Internationale.
Speaking in exercise of right of reply at the end of the consideration of agenda item five was Venezuela.
The webcast of the Human Rights Council meetings can be found here. All meeting summaries can be found here. Documents and reports related to the Human Rights Council’s fifty-second regular session can be found here.
The Council will reconvene this afternoon at 3 p.m. to consider the Universal Periodic Review outcomes of Ecuador, Tunisia, Morocco, and time allowing Indonesia.
General Debate on Agenda Item Five on Human Rights Bodies and Mechanisms
The general debate on agenda item five on human rights bodies and mechanisms started in the previous meeting and a summary can be found here.
Many speakers commended the work of the Special Procedures. Many greatly valued the contribution of the Council’s human rights bodies and mechanisms and acknowledged the role they played in assisting States in implementing their international human rights obligations. Speakers recognised the important efforts made by the Special Procedures to maintain constant communication with States and civil society and, through their work, contribute to the strengthening of the framework for the implementation of human rights at the international level. The field work carried out by the Special Rapporteurs and Independent Experts was also appreciated, as this allowed the voices of victims of human rights violations to be heard in the reports and in the Council. Speakers reiterated their commitment to fully cooperating with all human rights mechanisms affiliated with the United Nations, including the Human Rights Council.
Some speakers said the Universal Periodic Review was one of the most successful mechanisms of the Council, in which all United Nations Member States were able to participate in a transparent and constructive manner to review the human rights situation on the ground. Speakers also appreciated the work of the Advisory Committee, with its regular thematic inputs and expertise extended to the Council. It was gratifying that the Social Forum 2022 had addressed the important issue of water for human rights and sustainable development.
Speakers reiterated the importance of allowing Special Rapporteurs and Independent Experts to carry out their work independently and safely, within a framework of cooperation and respect. It was regretful that some States refused to allow them entry into the country and hampered access to information, which significantly limited the international community's ability to cooperate in preventing or assisting possible human rights violations. Some called on those who had not done so to extend a standing invitation to all Special Procedures.
Some speakers maintained that the communications and reports of the human rights bodies and mechanisms should be based on verifiable and reliable sources, with ground realities being properly assessed. The unprecedented proliferation of fake news, disinformation and misinformation was a serious threat for mandate holders to discharge their duties in conformity with the provisions of Council resolution 5/2, especially when seeking to establish the facts, based on objective and reliable information. It was more crucial than ever that information was backed up with the relevant credible sources and cross-checking. Some speakers said it was important to ensure equitable geographical representation and gender balance in all human rights bodies and mechanisms.
Human rights bodies and mechanisms should uphold the approach of genuine dialogue and cooperation and be guided by the principles of impartiality, objectivity, independence, non-selectivity, and transparency in discharging their mandates. Some speakers said it was deeply discouraging that many Special Procedures ignored the principle of impartiality and interfered in the internal affairs of States, refused to engage with governments, and neglected their Code of Conduct. The mandate holders of the Special Procedures were urged to carry out their work in strict adherence to the Code of Conduct, in accordance with Council resolution 5/2, through dialogue and cooperation, in a transparent and impartial manner, without selectivity, politicisation or double standards.
Consideration of Universal Periodic Review Outcome of Bahrain
The Council has before it the outcome report of the Universal Periodic Review of Bahrain.
Presentation of Report
Bahrain said it was proud of its strategic partnership and constructive participation with the United Nations and all its organs and mechanisms, including the Human Rights Council and the Universal Periodic Review mechanism, and was keen to consolidate this partnership and exchange experiences in various human rights and development areas. The appointment of a Human Rights Coordinator in Manama in cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights spoke volumes about this cooperation. The Universal Periodic Review, underpinned by objectivity, non-selectivity and constructive dialogue, was to be commended, and Bahrain was keen on cooperating with it further. There had been a positive spirit of interactive dialogue during the presentation of the report, resulting in 245 recommendations for Bahrain.
Following an exhaustive consideration by official bodies, stakeholders and partners, 172 of these recommendations had been accepted, and 72 taken note of, some of which could have been partially accepted had they not run against the Constitution, or Islamic Sharia, or run counter to national identity and social values. The Kingdom of Bahrain was committed to protecting and promoting human rights in all national processes, and would continue to launch initiatives to improve the situation of all residents in the national territory.
Another speaker said Bahrain would develop a mechanism, including all stakeholders, to implement the recommendations, with a clear timeline for their implementation.
In the discussion on Bahrain, many speakers extended a warm welcome to Bahrain’s participation in the Universal Periodic Review process. Bahrain was commended for accepting 172 out of the 245 recommendations given to them, which demonstrated the Government’s commitment to promoting and protecting human rights. Bahrain was making consistent efforts to promote human rights across the country, and to cooperate constructively with various international human rights mechanisms. The State was commended for pledging to complete the implementation of the national human rights plan for 2022–2026, which included 102 projects, to further enhance ongoing human rights efforts across all levels in the country. Speakers positively noted the effort of Bahrain in improving gender equality and increasing the number of women in public and political life at all levels, as well as the establishment of a specialised centre to protect the rights of expatriate workers.
It was recommended that Bahrain ratify the Convention against Torture and its Optional Protocol, and advance comprehensive legislation against discrimination in all areas. Bahrain should continue to implement the economic vision 2030 and promote sustainable economic and social development. The State should also continue to promote freedom of opinion and expression by making appropriate amendments to the press and electronic media law. It was regretful that Bahrain had only noted and not accepted all recommendations calling on it to admit United Nations Special Procedures; Bahrain needed to reverse this decision. Many speakers supported the adoption of Bahrain's Universal Periodic Review outcome by consensus and wished the Government success in implementing the accepted recommendations.
The President said that out of the 245 recommendations received, 172 enjoyed the support of Bahrain, and 73 were noted.
Bahrain said it believed in the importance of the Universal Periodic Review mechanism and availing itself of this important mechanism in protecting and promoting human rights in the country, to which it was committed, especially at the level of implementing accepted recommendations, to which it gave the highest diligence and care at the highest levels. Bahrain would provide a mid-term report two years from now, assessing the progress made in the implementation of the recommendations, and the engagement of all stakeholders and national bodies therewith.
Produced by the United Nations Information Service in Geneva for use of the information media; not an official record.
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