UNITED NATIONS A General Assembly Distr. LIMITED A/HRC/WG.6/1/BHR/2 [date] Original: ENGLISH HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review First session Geneva, 7-18 April 2008 ADVANCE UNEDITED VERSION 25 February 2008 COMPILATION PREPARED BY THE OFFICE OF THE HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, IN ACCORDANCE WITH PARAGRAPH 15(B) OF RESOLUTION 5/1 OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL

Bahrain

This report is a compilation of the information contained in the reports of treaty bodies, special procedures, including observations and comments by the State concerned, and other relevant official United Nations documents. It does not contain any opinions, views or suggestions of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). It follows the structure of the general guidelines adopted by the Human Rights Council. Information included therein has been systematically referenced in endnotes. The periodicity of the review for the first cycle being of four years, most documents are dated after 1 January 2004. In the absence of recent information, the latest available reports and documents have also been taken into consideration, unless outdated. Since this report only compiles official United Nations documents, lack of information or focus on specific issues may be due to non ratification of a treaty, and / or to a low level of interaction or cooperation with international human rights mechanisms.

I. BACKGROUND AND FRAMEWORK

A. Scope of international obligations1 (The following is a timetable, see the original document) Core universal human rights treaties Date of ratification, accession or succession Declarations/ Reservations Recognition of specific competences of Treaty Bodies ICERD2 27/03/1990 Yes (art. 22) Individual complaints (art.14): No ICESCR3 27/09/2007 Yes (art. 8(1)(d)) - ICCPR4 20/09/2006 Yes (arts. 3, 9(5), 14(7), 18 and 23) Inter-state complaints (art.41): No CEDAW5 18/06/2002 Yes (arts. 2, 9(2), 15(4), 16, 29(1)) - CAT6 06/03/1998 Yes (art. 30(1)) Inter-state complaints (art. 21): No Individual complaints (art. 22): No Inquiry procedure (art. 20): Yes CRC7 13/02/1990 No - CRC-OP-AC8 21/09/2004 Yes (art. 3(2)) - CRC-OP-SC9 21/09/2004 No - Core treaties to which Bahrain is not a party: ICCPR-OP110, ICCPR-OP211, OP-CEDAW12, OP-CAT13, ICRMW14, CPD15 (signature only, 2007), OP-CPD16 and CED17. Other relevant main instruments 18 Ratification, accession or succession Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide Yes Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court No Palermo protocol19 Yes Refugees and Stateless Persons20 No Geneva Conventions and their Protocols 21 Yes except Protocol III ILO Fundamental Conventions No 29, 105, 87, 98, 100, 111, 138 and 182.22 Yes except Nos. 87, 98 and 100. UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education No

1. The Committee Against Torture (CAT) welcomed Bahrain’s accession to international human rights treaties, including the Convention Against Torture, in 1998, as well as the withdrawal of its reservation to art. 20 of the Convention in the same year.23 Bahrain’s accession to the CEDAW in 2002 was also welcomed. 24

2. The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in persons, especially women and children recommended that Bahrain ratify the ICRMW.25 Further, CERD strongly recommended that the State ratify the ICCPR and the ICESCR26, which occurred in 2006 and 2007 respectively. Bahrain was urged to make the optional declaration under article 14 of the ICERD, to make the declarations under articles 21 and 22 of the CAT, as well as to ratify the OP-CAT.27 B. Constitutional and legislative framework

3. The promulgation of the amended Constitution and the creation of the Constitutional Court in 2002, as well as the establishment of a new bicameral parliament with an elected chamber of deputies were welcome developments.28 A/HRC/WG.6/1/BHR/2 Page 3

4. In 2005, CAT noted (i) the establishment of the Higher Judicial Council which draws a clear dividing line between the executive branch and the judiciary and thereby reinforces a separation of powers stipulated in the Constitution, (ii) the abolition of the State Security Court, and (iii) the repeal of the State Security Law.29

5. CAT expressed concern at the lack of a comprehensive definition of torture in domestic law and recommended that Bahrain adopt a definition consistent with article 1 of the Convention.30 Also of concern was the blanket amnesty extended to all alleged perpetrators of torture or other crimes by Decree No. 56 of 2002 and the lack of redress available to victims of torture. It was recommended that Bahrain amend the Decree to ensure that there is no impunity for officials who have perpetrated or acquiesced in torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.31

6. It was recommended that Bahrain incorporate in its domestic law a definition of racial discrimination that includes the elements set forth in article 1 of ICERD.32 C. Institutional and human rights structure

7. Both CAT and CERD called on Bahrain to consider the establishment of a national human rights institution (NHRI), in accordance with the Paris Principles.33 In reference to Bahrain’s follow-up report, CERD noted that a draft law establishing an NHRI was under consideration and wished to receive additional information on progress, in particular on the extent to which the NHRI, if created, would comply with the Paris Principles.34 D. Policy measures

8. The adoption of the National Action Charter in 2001 was a welcome achievement.35 It outlines reforms aimed at enhancing non-discrimination, due process of law and the prohibition of torture and arbitrary arrest and stating, inter alia, that any evidence obtained through torture is inadmissible.36

9. Information concerning the establishment in 2002 of an Inter-Ministerial Anti- Trafficking Task Force with a mandate inter alia, to develop a national plan of action against trafficking in persons was received with interest by the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children.37

10. In response to a request by the OHCHR on human rights obligations related to equitable access to safe drinking water and sanitation, Bahrain informed of its National plan of action, development programmes, public policies or emergency responses on the issue38. Inter alia, the State has established comprehensive programmes/action plans for integration of Bahrain water resources management.39

11. A 2006 UNDP report informed that Bahrain issued a decree requiring that democracy and human rights be taught in the State’s schools.40

II. PROMOTION AND PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS ON THE GROUND

A. Cooperation with international human rights mechanisms

1. Cooperation with Treaty bodies (The following is a timetable, see the original document) Treaty Body Latest report submitted and considered Latest concluding observations Follow-up response Reporting status CERD41 2003 March 2005 October 2006 8th and 9th periodic reports due in 2007 CESCR42 - - - Initial report due in 2009 HR Committee43 - - - Initial report due in 2007 CEDAW44 - - - Initial report overdue since 2003; 1st and 2nd combined reports received in 2007 CAT45 2004 May 2005 November 2006 2nd periodic report due in 2007 CRC46 2001 January 2002 - 2nd and 3rd periodic reports overdue since 2004 CRC-OP-AC - - - Initial report overdue since 2006 CRC-OP-SC - - - Initial report overdue since 2006 2. Cooperation with Special Procedures Standing invitation No Latest visits or mission reports The Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children (29 October -1 November 2006)47; Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (19-24 October 2001).48 Visits agreed upon in principle Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants. Visits requested and not yet agreed upon No Facilitation/Cooperation during missions The Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children thanked the respective Governments for their collaboration in facilitating meetings with officials from various branches of Government. She particularly welcomed the openness with which the authorities discussed issues concerning trafficking in persons. She regretted that due to the timing of the visit prior to the parliamentary elections in Bahrain, she was unable to meet with members of the Shura Council.49 Responses to letters of allegation and urgent appeals Between 01 January 2004 and 31 December 2007, 29 communications (letters of allegations and urgent appeals) were sent to Bahrain. 64 individuals were covered by these communications, including 9 women. Between 01 January 2004 and 31 December 2007, Bahrain replied to 20 communications which represents 69 percent of communications sent. Follow-up to visits No Responses to questionnaires on thematic issues Out of 13 questionnaires sent by the Special Procedures mandate holders50 between 01 January 2004 and 31 December 2007, Bahrain responded to the two of them within the deadlines.51

12. Both CAT and CRC welcomed the visit to Bahrain in 2001 by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which was granted unrestricted access to all prisons and police station holding cells, and was able to speak freely and without witnesses to prisoners it selected at random.52

3. Cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

13. In 2002 the former High Commissioner Mary Robinson visited Bahrain. During recent years, Bahrain has regularly provided financial contributions to OHCHR, as well as to the

Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture. In February 2004, Bahrain hosted a workshop organised by the Arab Institute for Human Rights and supported by OHCHR on the evaluation of training methods for vulnerable groups and popular education.53

B. Implementation of international human rights obligations

1. Equality and Non-discrimination

14. In 2005, CERD requested Bahrain to take measures to give effect to the provisions of the ICERD.54 It regretted that no statistics were provided on cases of application of relevant provisions of domestic legislation concerning racial discrimination. CERD recommended that Bahrain consider whether the lack of formal complaints could be the result of the victims’ lack of awareness of their rights, lack of confidence in the police and judicial authorities, or the authorities’ lack of attention, sensitivity, or commitment to cases of racial discrimination.55

15. Bahrain was called on by CERD to ensure that everyone, without distinction as to race, colour, or national or ethnic origin, enjoys the rights to work and to health and social security, adequate housing and education in accordance with the Convention. 56 CERD expressed concern at the reportedly disparate treatment of, opportunities afforded to, and discrimination faced by, members of some groups, in particular the Shia, when it comes to economic, social and cultural rights.57 CRC was concerned about the disparities in access to social services available in Shia communities in comparison to those in largely Sunni areas and about the enjoyment of rights by the bidoon and by non-national children, particularly children with disabilities. It was recommended that Bahrain (i) continue its efforts to ensure that all children within its jurisdiction enjoy all the rights set out in the Convention without discrimination and (ii) continue to prioritize and target resources and social services for children belonging to the most vulnerable groups. 58 CERD took note of the State’s follow-up report setting out constitutional provisions which ensure that everyone, without distinction based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin, enjoys the right set out in Art 5 of ICERD, and requested information on concrete steps taken to ensure the implementation of these provisions for all persons in Bahrain.59 CERD welcomed the organization of training programmes for the judiciary and law enforcement officials on the promotion and protection of human rights in the field of racial discrimination.60

16. A 2006 UNDP Report noted that Bahrain lacked a unified personal status code.61 The Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, together with the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, noted that Bahrain does not have a codified family law that stipulates clear and equitable norms on divorce or child custody.62 The broad discretionary powers of Sharia courts in the application of personal status law and criminal law and reported failures to take into account clear evidence of violence against women confirmed in medical certificates were also addressed.63 Two Special Rapporteurs added that due to the absence of a codified family law, judges can decide cases according to their personal interpretation of Sharia, which reportedly tends to favor men.64 They were concerned that a considerable number of women in Bahrain could be trapped in violent relationships, because they fear having to renounce child custody rights or property rights in order to be granted a divorce.65 It was recommended that Bahrain consider adopting a Family Code, including fair standards of proof and other measures to prevent and punish violence against women, especially domestic violence. 66 The above-mentioned UNDP report noted that the King of Bahrain formed a committee to prepare a family law bill, and although the committee had completed its work, as of 2005, the bill had yet to be passed into law.67

17. While CRC noted in 2002 the significant achievements in the status of women in Bahrain, it expressed its concern about: (a) discrimination against females and children born out of wedlock under existing personal status law (e.g. inheritance, custody and guardianship); and (b) certain vocational courses at the secondary level that are restricted to one sex. CRC recommended that Bahrain (a) take effective measures to prevent and eliminate discrimination on grounds of sex and birth in all fields of civil, economic, political, social and cultural life; (b) take all appropriate measures, such as comprehensive public education campaigns, to prevent and combat negative societal attitudes, particularly within the family; and (c) train members of the legal profession, especially the judiciary, to be gender sensitive. Religious leaders should be mobilized to support such efforts.68

18. A Common Country Assessment (CCA) of 2002 indicated that women face strong employment discrimination in both the public and private sectors, in areas such as participation in the workforce, likelihood to receive promotions, competitiveness for senior positions, salary, and job opportunities.69 A 2006 UNDP report noted that the requirement for Bahraini women to secure their husbands’ approval before obtaining a passport was abolished and women were allowed to work as traffic police.70 The CCA added that one of the root causes hindering women’s participation in decision-making processes is the general public’s attitude towards female politicians and leaders. 71 In 2007, the proportion of seats held by women in the national parliament was 2.5 per cent.72 Awareness and education campaigns aimed at dismantling gender stereotypes were called for. At the same time, the CCA noted that Bahrain’s achievement in the area of gender balance in education is remarkable.73

19. The situation of migrant workers was also of concern, and CERD, as highlighted also by UNHCR,74 urged Bahrain to take necessary measures to extend full protection from racial discrimination to migrant workers and remove obstacles that prevent the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights, notably in the areas of education, housing, employment and health. Bahrain was asked to provide information in its next periodic report on any bilateral agreements it has entered into with the countries of origin of migrant workers in its territory.75 In its follow-up letter in 2007, CERD commended the legislative provisions adopted to protect immigrant domestic workers, and welcomed information on steps taken to effectively implement these provisions.76 The publication of the foreign workers’ manual was also welcomed.77

20. Allegations of substantial prejudice against women migrant domestic workers, their working conditions, and their lack of protection under the Labour Code were also raised by CERD,78 as highlighted by UNHCR.79 According to information received by the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants and three other mandate holders,80 women domestic migrant workers are explicitly excluded from the labor laws for the private sector, many have to work 15 to 17 hours a day, seven days a week, and their employers often restrict their freedom of movement. Since their legal status in Bahrain depends on the continued visa sponsorship of their employers, those who attempt to escape from exploitative situations risk arrest, prolonged administrative detention and deportation. Furthermore, it was reported that public authorities often privilege employers in disputes involving migrant workers.81 Bahrain was requested to take effective measures to prevent and redress the serious problems faced by female domestic workers, including debt bondage, passport retention, illegal confinement, rape and physical assault. 82 Further, CERD wished to receive information on specific measures and concrete steps taken to protect female migrant domestic workers, in particular in relation to those issues.83

21. Also of concern was the fact that a Bahraini woman is unable to transmit her nationality to her child when she is married to a foreign national, and that a foreign man is unable to acquire Bahraini nationality in the same manner as a foreign woman. CERD requested Bahrain, as highlighted also by UNHCR84, to consider modifying these provisions and stressed that States should ensure that particular groups of non-citizens are not discriminated against with regard to access to citizenship or naturalization.85

22. The absence of a defined minimum age for marriage, and inconsistencies in other areas of Bahraini law with respect to minimum ages were addressed by CRC. It recommended that Bahrain: (i) review and amend its legislation so that the minimum-age requirements are gender neutral, are explicit, and are enforced by law; and, in particular; (ii) establish a genderneutral minimum age for marriage.86

2. Right to life, liberty and security of the person

23. In 2005, CAT welcomed reports that systematic torture no longer takes place following 2001 reforms87 but noted with concern: (a) the persistent gap between the legislative framework and its practical implementation with regard to Bahrain’s obligations under the Convention; (b) the large number of allegations of torture and other ill-treatment of detainees committed prior to 2001; (c) the absence of data on complaints of torture and illtreatment, and the results of investigations or prosecutions related to the provisions of the CAT; and (d) reports of the beating and mistreatment of prisoners during three strikes in 2003 at Jaw Prison, followed by the establishment of an investigative commission whose findings have not been made public. Bahrain was called on to provide complete information about these events.88

24. CAT also expressed its concern at (a) reports of extended periods of incommunicado detention following ratification of the Convention and prior to 2001, particularly during pre-trial investigations; (b) inadequate safeguards available to detainees, including access to external legal advice while in police custody, to medical assistance and to family members, and (c) lack of access by independent monitors to all places of detention without prior notice, notwithstanding assurances by Bahrain that it will allow access to civil society organizations.89

25. Bahrain should respect the absolute nature of article 3 of CAT in all circumstances and fully incorporate it into domestic law.90 It was recommended that Bahrain establish an independent body mandated to visit and/or supervise places of detention without prior notice, and allow impartial organisations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to visit prisons and places of detention.91 Further, it was requested that all detained persons should have immediate access to a doctor and a lawyer, as well as contact with their families, and that detainees held by the Criminal Investigation Department are given prompt access to a judge.92 Furthermore, CAT recommended that law enforcement, civil, military and medical personnel, and public officials undergo training on issues related to torture.93

26. Three mandate holders shared their concern with respect to the alleged disproportionate use of force by the Bahraini security forces when dispersing peaceful demonstrators. Many of the demonstrators were reportedly beaten and some required hospital treatment.94 In its reply, the Government stated that if injuries were sustained, it happened while the policemen were taking precautionary measures to protect themselves from a direct attack.95

27. Trafficking in persons is not presently a crime under Bahrain’s Penal Code. In its pledges and commitments in 2006, Bahrain indicated that a draft law on the issue of trafficking was being prepared96 which, as the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children learned with interest, contains a definition of trafficking reflecting that contained in the Palermo Protocol.97 On the issue of preventing forced marriage in the context of trafficking in persons, the Special Rapporteur recommended, as highlighted also by UNHCR,98 that Bahrain (among others) amend its legislation so that victims of forced marriages are not dependent upon their spouses for legal immigration status and that governments should recognize forced marriage, especially in the context of trafficking in persons, as a condition giving rise to a claim of asylum based on gender-related violence and other forms of human rights violations, and ensure that the women and girls are not deported.99

28. The Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children noted that Bahrain’s Labour Code of 1976 contains various provisions protecting against abuse and exploitation of foreign workers, with the exclusion of domestic workers.100 In extreme cases, domestic migrant workers may also be subjected to physical or sexual abuse and face the possibility of rape and other forms of violence by their employers.101

29. The 2002 CCA indicated that the Ministry of Health formed a committee which drew up a child protection plan including a detailed timetable to deal with the problem starting in January 1999. The plan incorporates three main areas: remedial action, education and law enforcement and justice. Despite significant constitutional reviews and adherence to conventions, there has been an increase in reported cases of child abuse and rape. The CCA noted that there is a need for a behavioural and attitudinal change as well as for more effective enforcement of laws pertaining to child abuse. The child protection committee offers a good service to children who suffer from abuse, but it lacks the necessary abilities and authority to protect such children.102

3. Administration of justice and the rule of law

30. Bahrain was encouraged by CAT to fully ensure the independence of the judiciary and include female judicial officials in its judicial system.103

31. In 2005, CAT expressed concern at the apparent failure to investigate promptly, impartially and fully the numerous allegations of torture and ill-treatment and to prosecute alleged offenders, and in particular the pattern of impunity for torture and other ill-treatment committed by law enforcement personnel in the past.104 Further, the inadequate availability in practice of civil compensation and rehabilitation for victims of torture prior to 2001 was an issue of concern and it was recommended that Bahrain ensure that its legal system provide victims of past acts of torture with redress and an enforceable right to fair and adequate compensation.105

32. In 2002, CRC regretted that no information was provided in Bahrain’s report concerning the serious allegations of torture and arbitrary arrest of persons under 18 referred to in other reports. It strongly recommended Bahrain to: (a) investigate effectively all cases of torture and inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment by police officers or other government officials and bring the perpetrators to justice; (b) pay full attention to the victims of these violations and provide them with adequate compensation, recovery and social reintegration; and (c) include in its subsequent reports information concerning the above recommendations.106

4. Freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly

33. In 2005, CAT expressed concern regarding limits on human rights NGOs to conduct their work within the country and abroad.107 It urged Bahrain to remove inappropriate restrictions on the work of NGOs.108 Bahrain, in its follow-up report, provided examples of activities conducted by NGOs and indicated that individuals were to apply for permission to establish an association.109 In its pledges to the Human Rights Council, Bahrain committed to continue to work to promote its NGOs, especially those dealing with human rights.110

34. There was concern over the banning of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR).111 CERD requested that Bahrain permit integrationist multiracial organisations and movements and create an enabling environment for them, and encouraged it to maintain dialogue with all civil society organizations, including those critical of its policies. The Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) on the situation of human rights defenders expressed concerns that the decision to dissolve the BCHR was an attempt by the authorities to silence the organisation and other human rights defenders in the country, and to prevent them from carrying out their legitimate activities in defence of human rights.112 The Government responded that the Ministerial Order to close BCHR was made after the group repeatedly and clearly demonstrated that it was more interested in political campaigning than in human rights issues.113 Within the framework of the follow-up procedure, CERD took note that Bahrain had set up laws and policies to encourage the activities of civil society organisations, and requested to receive additional information on the Political Associations Act (2005). It also requested information on certain human rights activists and on any charges brought against them.114 The SRSG on the situation of human rights defenders invited Bahrain to review the Law on Societies and other relevant regulations to ensure that Bahrain’s legislation adequately protects the right of persons to freely organize to defend human rights.115

35. The SRSG on the situation of human rights defenders noted that the use of criminal charges such as “encouraging hatred of the State” and “distributing falsehoods and rumors” frequently implies the risk of suppressing legitimate free speech, and is particularly worrying when such charges are raised against a person for having denounced alleged human rights violations.116 Further, she remained concerned about the heaviness of the alleged sentences for defamation, which is still a criminal offence in the country.117

36. Three mandate holders118 raised the case of a leading human rights defender who appeared in court on charges of insulting the judiciary; defamation and slander of a family court judge; and slander of the husband of a victim of domestic violence. The charges arose from petitions and articles issued by a women rights organization, of which the human rights activist was the director. In this role, the defendant reportedly organized protests, vigils and a hunger strike in an effort to draw attention to how the existing family court system discriminates against women. Concern was expressed that the charges brought against the defendant were a direct attempt at silencing her work in defending women’s human rights.119 In its detailed reply the Government stated, inter alia, that the criminal case brought against the plaintiff had nothing to do with her work as a human rights activist.120

37. The release of three human rights defenders from detention was welcomed by the SRSG on human rights defenders121 who shared her concerns that their arrest and detention were aimed at preventing their activities as human rights defenders122 as they were allegedly arrested during a peaceful demonstration and it was feared that their organizations might be

closed.123 She also welcomed reversal of the decision to close a non-governmental organization.124

5. Right to an adequate standard of living

38. A 2007 report of the World Health Organisation (WHO) noted comprehensive health services are provided to citizens of Bahrain free of charge through the primary health care system.125 Accessibility and coverage are almost 100%. The expenditure on health however is relatively low compared with other countries with similar income levels. The performance of the health care system has been impressive with very low infant and maternal mortality rates. Obesity is an emerging problem and communicable diseases are largely under control. Available data indicates a low prevalence of HIV, but accurate data was not available.126

6. Human rights and counter-terrorism

39. In April 2005, over thirty political and civic organizations signed a statement rejecting the draft law on counter-terrorism, describing it as a major setback for public and personal freedoms and a threat to the gains in freedom of expression, opinion and social and political action achieved by the Bahraini people over the previous four years.127 In 2005, CAT expressed its concern at certain provisions of the bill which would reduce safeguards against torture and could re-establish conditions that characterized past abuses under the State Security Law. These provisions include, inter alia, the broad and vague definition of terrorism and terrorist organizations, as well as the transfer from the judiciary to the public prosecutor of authority to arrest and detain, in particular, to extend pre-trial detention.128 It was recommended that Bahrain ensure that any measure taken to combat terrorism, including the draft law, complies with international human rights law, including the CAT.129

40. The Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism also shared his concerns with Bahrain regarding some aspects of the draft law on counter-terrorism. Inter alia, the broad definition of terrorism contained therein and the restrictions brought to freedom of association and assembly were raised.130 Further, the mandate-holder noted that the offence of incitement to terrorism fails to establish a clear and foreseeable threshold for criminalization and he was concerned at the possibility, under the then draft law for an individual to be detained up to 90 days without the involvement of any member of the judiciary.131 In its response Bahrain informed the Special Rapporteur that the definition in the draft law does not go beyond the scope of the definition found in the regional conventions to which Bahrain is a party including the Arab Convention for the Suppression of Terrorism. Bahrain maintained that the definition of terrorism in the law was not broad and was consistent with the relevant international conventions.132

III. ACHIEVEMENTS, BEST PRACTICES, CHALLENGES AND CONSTRAINTS

41. CERD appreciated the establishment in 2002 for the first time of trade unions as well as of cultural associations of foreigners.133 Bahrain’s efforts towards greater openness and accountability with respect to human rights, and the decision to transfer the public prosecution office from the Ministry of the Interior to the Ministry of Justice were welcomed by the CRC.134

IV. KEY NATIONAL PRIORITIES, INITIATIVES AND COMMITMENTS

A. Pledges by the State

42. Bahrain pledged to continue to host seminars and workshops on human rights in order to increase public awareness of specific human rights issues. It will work with other actors within the international community to develop and strengthen human rights, through the implementation of human rights principles and standards enshrined in regional and international agreements.135

B. Specific recommendations for follow-up

43. In 2005, CERD requested Bahrain to provide information within one year on the way it has followed up on its recommendations related to: the establishment of a national human rights institution; the integrationist multiracial organizations and movements; female migrant domestic workers and discrimination faced by some groups, in particular the Shia.136 On 19 October 2006, the Government of Bahrain provided a follow-up report to CERD (CERD/C/BHR/CO/7/Add.1),137 with a lengthy response to all the issues. In its reply letter to Bahrain’s follow-up report, CERD welcomed the co-operation and the constructive dialogue with Bahrain and asked for additional information from the government to be submitted and included in the 8th and 9th periodic reports.138

44. In 2005, CAT requested Bahrain to provide information within one year on its response to the Committee’s recommendations related to: inadequate access to external legal advice while in police custody (incl. to medical assistance and to family members); different regimes applicable, in law and in practice, to nationals and foreigners in relation to their legal rights; overbroad discretionary powers of the Shariah court judges in the application of personal status law and criminal law; and, in particular, reported failures to take into account clear evidence of violence confirmed in medical certificates following violence against women.139 On 21 November 2006, the Government of Bahrain provided a follow-up report (CAT/C/BHR/CO/1/Add.1).140

V. CAPACITY BUILDING AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE

45. In 2002 CRC recommended Bahrain to seek technical assistance from, among others, OHCHR and UNICEF on monitoring structures141 and from UNICEF on data collection.142 CRC also recommended that the State seek assistance from, among others, OHCHR and UNICEF on the administration of juvenile justice143 and training/dissemination of the Convention.144 Further, the Committee recommended that Bahrain seek assistance from, among others, UNICEF on respect for the views of the child145; from UNICEF and the WHO in the areas of adolescent health146 and violence/abuse/neglect/maltreatment147; and from the International Labour Organisation on economic exploitation148.

Notes 1 Unless indicated otherwise, the status of ratifications of instruments listed below may be found in Multilateral Treaties Deposited with the Secretary-General: Status as at 31 December 2006, ST/LEG/SER.E.25; complemented by the official website of the United Nations Treaty Collection database, Office of Legal Affairs, http://untreaty.un.org/. 2 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination 3 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 4 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 5 Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women 6 Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. 7 Convention on the Rights of the Child 8 Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict. 9 Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. 10 First Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. 11 Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty. 12 Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. 13 Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. 14 International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. 15 Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. 16 Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. 17 International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. 18 Information relating to other international instruments, including regional instruments can be found in the State’s Pledges and Commitments. The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Bahrain, Aide-memoire on Bahrain’s voluntary pledges related to Bahrain’s candidature to the Human Rights Council, Letter dated 25 April 2006. 19 Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. 20 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, 1954 Convention relating to the status of Stateless Persons and 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. 21 Convention (I) for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field; Convention (II) for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea; Convention (III) relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War; Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War; Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I); Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts (Protocol II); Protocol additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Adoption of an Additional Distinctive Emblem (Protocol III). Source: Switzerland, Federal department of foreign affairs, http://www.eda.admin.ch/eda/fr/home/topics/intla/intrea/chdep/warvic.html. 22 International Labour Organization Convention No. 29 concerning Forced or Compulsory Labour and Convention; Convention No.105 concerning the Abolition of Forced Labour, Convention No.87 concerning Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise; Convention No.98 concerning the Application of the Principles of the Right to Organise and to Bargain Collectively; Convention No.100 concerning Equal Remuneration for Men and Women Workers for Work of Equal Value; Convention No.111 concerning Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation; Convention No.138 concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment; Convention No.182 concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour. 23 CAT, Conclusions and Recommendations, CAT/C/CR/34/BHR, paras. 5(b), (c). 24 CAT, Conclusions and Recommendations, op. cit., para. 5(b); CERD, Concluding Observations, CERD/C/BHR/CO/7, para.7. 25 CERD, Concluding Observations, op. cit., para.19. See also: CRC, Concluding observations, op. cit., para. 29 (c), and A/HRC/4/23/Add.2 (Report of the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children), para. 19. 26 CERD, Concluding Observations, op. cit., para. 19. 27 CERD, Concluding Observations, op. cit., para. 20; CAT, Conclusions and Recommendations, op. cit., para.9. 28 CERD, Concluding Observations, op. cit.m para. 4. See also: CAT, Conclusions and Recommendations, op. cit., para.5 (a). 29 CAT, Conclusions and Recommendations, para. 5 (a). 30 CAT, Conclusions and Recommendations, op. cit., paras 6(b) and 7 (a). 31 CAT, Conclusions and Recommendations, op. cit., para. 6 (g) and 7(d). 32 CERD, Concluding Observations, op. cit., para.11. 33 Principles relating to the status of national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights, General Assembly resolution 48/134, annex; CERD, Concluding Observations, op. cit. para. 12; CAT, Conclusions and Recommendations, op. cit., paras. 6 (n) and 7 (l).). 34 Follow-up procedure, Letter dated 9 March 2007 sent by CERD to Bahrain, available at http://www.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cerd/docs/70_Letter_Bahrain.pdf., in relation to para. 12 of the Concluding observations of CERD, op. cit. 35 CERD, Concluding Observations, op. cit., para. 4. See also: CAT, Conclusions and Recommendations, para.5 (a). 36 CAT, Conclusions and Recommendations, para. 5 (a). 37 Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, A/HRC/4/23/Add.2, para.19. 38 Letter from the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Bahrain to OHCHR, dated 24 April 2007. 39 Ibid. 40 UNDP, Arab Human Development Report, New York, 2006, p. 5. 41 Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. 42 Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. 43 Human Rights Committee. 44 Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women 45 Committee against Torture. 46 Committee on the Rights of the Child. 47 Op. cit. 48 E/CN.4/2002/77/Add.2. 49 Ibid,para.2. 50 - Special Rapporteur on the right to education (A/HRC/4/29): Questionnaire on the right to education of persons with disabilities Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to education, the right to education of persons with disabilities sent in 2006) - Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants (A/HRC/4/24): Questionnaire on the human rights of migrants on border control and measures to reduce/address irregular migration; expulsion; conditions for admission/stay; rights of migrants; and the protection of migrants sent on 8 and 9 September 2006 - Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially in women and children (A/HRC/4/23): Questionnaire on Forced marriages in the context of trafficking in persons, especially women and children Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights aspects of the victims of trafficking in persons, especially women and children sent on 26 July 2006. - Special Representative on human rights defenders (E/CN.4/2006/95/Add.5): Questionnaire aimed at identifying the main areas of progress and the remaining challenges that need to be addressed in relation to the implementation of the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms sent in June 2005. - Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people (A/HRC/6/15): Questionnaire on the human rights of indigenous peoples sent in August 2007 - Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially in women and children (E/CN.4/2006/62) and the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (E/CN.4/2006/67) : Joint questionnaire on demand for commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking and demand for sexual services deriving from exploitation sent on 25 and 26 July 2005. - Special Rapporteur on the right to education (E/CN.4/2006/45): Questionnaire on girl’s right to education sent in 2005. - Working Group on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights(A/61/341): Questionnaire on Mercenaries sent in mid-November 2005. -Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (A/HRC/4/31): Questionnaire on the Sale of Children's organs sent on July 2006. - Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (E/CN.4/2005/78): Questionnaire on Child pornography on the Internet sent on 30 July 2004. - Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (E/CN.4/2004/9): Questionnaire on the Prevention of child sexual exploitation sent on 29 July 2003. -Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprise, A/HRC/4/35/Add.3 : Questionnaire to identify policies and practices by which states regulate, adjudicate and otherwise influence corporate actions 51 Questionnaire aimed at identifying the main areas of progress and the remaining challenges that need to be addressed in relation to the implementation of the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, E/CN.4/2006/95/Add.5. Questionnaire to identify policies and practices by which states regulate, adjudicate and otherwise influence corporate actions. A/HRC/4/35/Add.3, Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprise, para.7. 52 CAT, Conclusions and Recommendations, op. cit., para. 5(d); CRC, Concluding observations, op. cit., para. 49. 53 OHCHR Annual Report 2004, p.162. 54 CERD, Concluding Observations, op. cit., para. 9. CERD reiterated its recommendation that population data, disaggregated by race, descent, ethnicity, language and religion, as well as the socio-economic status of each group, be provided by Bahrain in its next periodic report (which was due in April 2007), para. 10. 55 CERD, Concluding Observations, op. cit., para. 18. 56 CERD, Concluding Observations, op. cit., para.16 57 CERD, Concluding Observations, op. cit., para.16 58 CRC, Concluding observations, op. cit., paras.28-29. 59 See the letter sent by CERD on 9 March 2007, to Bahrain. The letter is available on: http://www.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cerd/docs/70_Letter_Bahrain.pdf. 60 CERD, Concluding Observations, op. cit., para. 6. 61 UNDP, Arab Human Development Report, 2005, New York, 2006, p. 19. 62 A/HRC/4/25/Add.1 (Report of the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers), at para. 43. 63 CAT, Conclusions and Recommendations, para. 6 (o). 64 Special Rapporteur on Independence of Judges and Lawyers, together with the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences. See A/HRC/4/25/Add.1 (Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers), para. 43. 65 Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, A/HRC/4/25/Add.1, para. 43. 66 CAT, Conclusions and Recommendations, para. 7. 67 UNDP, Arab Human Development Report, 2005, New York, 2006, p. 190. 68 CRC, Concluding observations, op. cit., para. 27. 69 United Nations Common Country Assessment (CCA) Bahrain, 2002, at p. 20. 70 UNDP, Arab Human Development Report, 2005, New York, 2006, p. 51. 71 United Nations Common Country Assessment, Bahrain, 2002, pp. 19-20. 72 Official United Nations Site for Millenium Development Goals Indicators, 24/01/08: http://mdgs.un.org/unsd/mdg/ 73 United Nations Common Country Assessment, Bahrain, 2002, pp. 19-20. 74 UNHCR submission to the UPR on Bahrain, p. 1, citing CERD/C/BHR/CO/7, para. 14. 75 CERD, Concluding Observations, op. cit., para. 14. 76 See the letter sent by CERD on 9 March 2007, to the State Party. The letter is available on: http://www.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cerd/docs/70_Letter_Bahrain.pdf. 77 CAT, Conclusions and Recommendations, op. cit., para. 5(a). 78 CERD, Concluding Observations, op. cit., para. 15. 79 UNHCR submission to the UPR on Bahrain, p. 1, citing CERD/C/BHR/CO/7, paras.15 and 19. 80 The Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, and the Special Rapporteur on sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. See Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, op. cit. (E/CN.4/2006/73/Add.1) 81 Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, op. cit., para. 2. 82 CERD, Concluding Observations, para. 15. 83 See the letter sent by CERD on 9 March 2007, to Bahrain. The letter is available on: http://www.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cerd/docs/70_Letter_Bahrain.pdf. 84 UNHCR submission to the UPR on Bahrain, p. 1, citing CERD/C/BHR/CO/7, para. 17.. 85 CERD, Concluding Observations, op. cit., para. 17. 86 CRC, Concluding Observations, op. cit., paras. 20-21. 87 CAT, Conclusions and Recommendations, op. cit., para. 5(b). 88 CAT, Conclusions and Recommendations, op. cit., para.6 (a), 6 (c), 6 (k), 6 (p). 89 CAT, Conclusions and Recommendations, op. cit., para. 6 (d) and (e). 90 CAT, Conclusions and Recommendations, op. cit., para.7 (c). 91 CAT, Conclusions and Recommendations, op. cit., para 7 (g). 92 CAT, Conclusions and Recommendations, op. cit., para. 7 (j). 93 CAT, Conclusions and Recommendations, op. cit., para. 7 (n). 94 The Special Representative of the Secretary General on the situation of human rights defenders, together with the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the Special Rapporteur on the question of torture. See E/CN.4/2006/95/Add.1, para. 24 ( The Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders) 95 Ibid., para. 28 96 Aide-memoire on Bahrain’s voluntary pledges related to Bahrain’s candidature to the Human Rights Council,, op. cit. 97 Report of the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, A/HRC/4/23/Add.2, op. cit., para.23. 98 UNHCR submission to the UPR on Bahrain, p. 2, citing Report of the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, A/HRC/4/23/Add.2, op. cit., para.63.. 99 Report of the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, A/HRC/4/23/Add.2, op. cit., para. 63. 100 Report of the Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, especially women and children, op. cit., para. 14 101 Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, E/CN.4/2006/73/Add. 1, para. 3. 102 United Nations Common Country Assessment (CCA) Bahrain, 2002, at p. 17. 103 CAT, Conclusions and Recommendations, op. cit., para. 7(h). 104 CAT, Conclusions and Recommendations, op. cit., para. 6 (f). 105 CAT, Conclusions and Recommendations, op. cit., para.7 (b), 7 (e), 7 (d). 106 CRC, Concluding Observations, op. cit., paras. 35-36. 107 CAT, Conclusions and Recommendations, op. cit., para. 6(l). 108 CAT, Conclusions and Recommendations, op. cit., para. 7 (m). 109 See the Follow up report from the State Party: “Comments by the Government of Bahrain”, sent to CAT on 21 November, CAT/C/BHR/CO/1/add.1. 110 Aide-memoire on Bahrain’s voluntary pledges related to Bahrain’s candidature to the Human Rights Council,, op. cit. . 111 CERD, Concluding Observations, op. cit., para. 13. 112 A/HRC/4/37/Add.1 (Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on human rights defenders, 2007), para. 35. See also CERD, Concluding Observations, op. cit., para. 13. 113 A/HRC/4/37/Add.1,para 38 114 See the letter sent by CERD on 9 March 2007, to Bahrain. The letter is available on: http://www.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cerd/docs/70_Letter_Bahrain.pdf 115 Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders, E/CN.4/2005/101/Add.1, para. 49 116 E/CN.4/2005/101/Add.1, para.48 (Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders). 117 E/CN.4/2006/95/Add.1, para.29 (Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders) 118 The SRSG on human rights defenders together with the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, and the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression. 119 E/CN.4/2006/95/Add.1, para. 25 (Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders). 120 Ibid.,par.27 121 E/CN.4/2005/101/Add.1,para. 48 (Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders). 122 Ibid, para. 41 123 Ibid, para. 39. 124 Ibid., para. 49. 125 WHO, Country Cooperation Strategy, Geneva, 2007, p. 1, available at http: www.who.int countryfocus cooperation_strategy ccsbrief_bhr_en.pdf (accessed on 13 February 2008). 126 WHO, Country Cooperation Strategy, Geneva, 2007, p. 1, available at http: www.who.int countryfocus cooperation_strategy ccsbrief_bhr_en.pdf (accessed on 13 February 2008). 127 UNDP Arab Human Development Report 2005, New York, 2006, p. 30. 128 CAT, Conclusions and Recommendations, op. cit., para.6 (i). 129 CAT, Conclusions and Recommendations, op. cit., para.7 (f). 130 A/HRC/4/26/Add.1, para. 15 (Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism). 131 Ibid., paras. 14-17. 132 Ibid, para.16 133 CERD, Concluding Observations, op. cit., para. 5. 134 CRC, Concluding Observations, op. cit., para. 35. 135 Aide-memoire on Bahrain’s voluntary pledges related to Bahrain’s candidature to the Human Rights Council,, op. cit. . 136 CERD, Concluding Observations, op. cit., para. 24. 137 CERD, Concluding Observations, op. cit., para. 24. 138 See the letter sent by CERD on 9 March 2007, to Bahrain. The letter is available on: http://www.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cerd/docs/70_Letter_Bahrain.pdf. 139 CAT, Concluding Observations, op. cit., para.11. 140 See the Follow up report from the State Party: “Comments by the Government of Bahrain”, sent to CAT on 21 November 2006, CAT/C/BHR/CO/1/add.1. Available on: http://daccessdds.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G07/403/80/PDF/G0740380.pdf?OpenElement. 141 CRC Concluding Observations, para. 10(c) 142 CRC Concluding Observations, para. 12(b) 143 CRC Concluding Observations, para. 48(h) 144 CRC Concluding Observations, para. 19(d) 145 CRC Concluding Observations, para. 34(c) 146 CRC Concluding Observations, para. 40(c) 147 CRC Concluding Observations, para. 38(h) 148 CRC Concluding Observations, para. 46(c)