Geneva, Palais des Nations (United Nations), 19 September 2012

On the day of the adoption of Bahrain’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Report by the UN Human Rights Council, the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT) and No Peace Without Justice, together with international and Bahraini partners, hosted a side event "Towards Justice for Bahrain" at the United Nations in Geneva. The meeting, which was attended by over one hundred people, provided an opportunity for activists on the ground in Bahrain to testify about the real situation the country is in, uncovering the truth in Bahrain and showing the real face of a campaign of repression to silence opposition and independent voices.

The following was the statement of Sayed Yousif AlMuhafdha of BCHR:

1- Impunity as a paradise for torturers and other criminals:

The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) has confirmed many sorts of widespread human rights violations in its November 2011 report. The (BICI) mentioned the absence of accountability and the presence of a culture of impunity which leads to crimes like mass arbitrary detentions, torture until death, extra judicial killings, use of excessive force, vandalism, collective punishment and many other crimes against humanity which were committed by the Bahraini security forces and the army against pro-democracy protesters.

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights welcomed the (BICI) recommendations and urged the authorities in Bahrain to implement them all according to the universal standards human rights. Unfortunately the authorities did not fulfill their commitment to implementing all the (BICI) recommendations, and the recommendations they said they implemented were not implemented to the fullest. One of the most important (BICI) recommendations that the authorities have chosen to not implement is accountability.

The BCHR issued two reports named “Post-BICI violations part I and II” which documented that widespread human rights violations documented in the BICI report continued, and in some cases worsened. For example, the number of extra judicial killings that took place in the months after the BICI report outnumbered those documented in the report. One of the reasons for continuation of these violations is the impunity and show trials which were held for some low ranked politically naturalized policemen allegedly implicated in torture and killing of protesters. The absence of accountability, and the culture of impunity, especially with the same people who were responsible for the crimes documented in the BICI report, staying in their positions or getting promoted means the same violations will continue.

BCHR believes that authorities in Bahrain using impunity and unaccountability as a blanket to protect those responsible of many human rights violations in desire of continuing the crackdown and as a tool of suppression.

The best example for this is that the many of the same people who were responsible for the torture that took place in the 1990’s continue to remain in their high positions in government or have been promoted since. This is due to Decree 56 (2002), passed by the King, which gave amnesty to anyone in the government who was responsible for grave human rights violations in the 1990’s.