ARTICLE 19, alongside other NGOs, today voiced support for the UN joint-statement on human rights in Bahrain, delivered by Switzerland at the 30th session of the UN Human Rights Council, was co-signed by 33 countries, including 19 EU states and the United States. The coalition of NGOs invites states who have not signed to do so: the joint-statement remains open for additional signatories until the end of the Human Rights Council session on 2 October 2015.
Public pressure on Bahrain continues to prove effective in safeguarding rights in the country. Following international criticism and pressure from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and from States, the king of Bahrain pardoned Nabeel Rajab, President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, after serving over four months in prison for a tweet. Furthermore, OHCHR’s negotiations for a program of technical capacity building in Bahrain has stalled over the intervening months since the last joint statement.
It is therefore critical to act now to maintain the level of international concern on the human rights situation in Bahrain. To abandon the collective attention on Bahrain in a time of such deterioration sends a dangerous message to the kingdom of Bahrain, and undermines both internal and external efforts to foster reform. Switzerland has indicated that this session’s joint statement will be open for additional signatories throughout the session.
ARTICLE 19 calls on those who have signed to continue exerting collective pressure for human rights progress in Bahrain.