The opening of the 32nd session of the UN Human Rights Council is a good moment to look back over a year of developments concerning human rights in Bahrain. As the below report demonstrates, there have been important developments such as parliamentary approval of CEDAW and domestic violence legislation and important work by the Ombudsman’s Office and other human rights institutions. However, there have also been challenges and setbacks.
Ombudsman’s Office report: The Ombudsman reported a 375% increase in the number of complaints it handled, with a growing number of cases being referred to the courts and other legal bodies for further action. The office’s work has been recognized by the prestigious Challiot Prize for promoting human rights.
Religious freedom report: The report by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom praised the Bahrain authorities for “demonstrable progress in rebuilding mosques and religious structures” damaged during the unrest: “The government increased to approximately $8m the amount to rebuild Shi’a mosques and religious structures, nearly twice what it pledged in 2012. It also moved the deadline from 2018 to the end of 2014 to complete the construction of the 30 destroyed structures identified in the BICI report… 14 mosques had been rebuilt, eight by the government and six by the Shi’a community and 13 others were approximately 80-90% complete. The government helped secure legal permits for the six structures built by the Shi’a community.”...