Seen as a Major Setback for Human Rights in Bahrain

05 Oct 2012

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses its extreme disappointment at the selection of Saeed Mohamed Al Faihani for a position on the United Nations Human Rights Council Advisory Committee. The election of Mr. Al Faihani, at a time when yet another pro-democracy protester died on the streets of Bahrain at the hands of the police, both undermines the legitimacy of the UNHRC, and also sends a clear signal that reaffirms a lack of consequences for governments that choose to systematically abuse human rights.

Mr. Al Faihani has held several positions within the government in Bahrain, he left his post as Deputy Minister for Human Rights less than one month ago, and he is clearly not an independent voice for the UNHRC Advisory Committee.

In addition to his bias, Mr. Al Faihani has repeatedly made statements about the human rights situation in his country that are outright fanciful. He has, for example, recently reported that human rights defender and President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights Nabeel Rajab is being detained, along with five other prisoners, in a cell with two rooms and two bathrooms, a living-room, a TV set, a refrigerator, a kitchen, a public phone and a place for practicing sports activities[1] . This is despite the continual assertions from Nabeel that the conditions of his cell are dirty, cramped, and a violation of his human rights[2] .

According to Human Rights First, Al Faihani has also made statement in 2011 where he has asserted that no one in Bahrain was being tortured, and that “everyone who’s been arrested has been shown an arrest warrant and proper documentation and that no one had been taken by masked men from their home”. This statement could not be further removed from the truth, and evidence of these masked abductions and unwarranted arrests has been carefully documented by the commission of inqueiry appointed by the king himself in its Nov 2011 report[3] , as well as by Bahrain Center for Human Rights and other rights organizations.

Saeed Al Faihani is unfit to serve on the UNHRC Advisory Committee. His election amounts to an international vote of confidence for a country in which systematic human rights violations remain a serious problem.

Statements from International NGOs

Freedom House Opposes Bahraini Government’s Nominee for UN Human Rights Council Advisory Committee

Bahrain JDM: Bahrain Government Nominee Elected to UN Human Rights Advisory Committee

The Foreign Policy Initiative Signs Open Letter Opposing the Nomination of Bahrain’s Saeed Mohammed al-Faihani for a Seat on the UNHRC’s Advisory Committee

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[1]alwasatnews.com/3653/news/read/6.. [2]bahrainrights.org/en/node/5407 [3]www.bici.org.bh/BICIreportEN.pdf