Bahrain has undergone an alarming upsurge of violence and harassment aimed at human rights defenders since February 2011. Human rights defenders have been beaten up, their homes attacked, and banned from leaving the country. It is commonly believed that their phones are tapped. Their work in defending and promoting human rights remains dangerous, and the government of Bahrain has failed in its obligations to the 1998 UN Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders.
Human rights activists, journalists and medics have been particularly targeted for their defense of human rights. Dozens have been detained and subjected to torture and military trials, even though they are civilians.