Bahraini Government Falsely Claims Full Implementation of Human Rights Reforms
Washington, D.C.—In response to reports that the Bahraini government publicly announced that is has fully implemented the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) recommendations, Human Rights First’s Brian Dooley issued the following statement:
“Today’s claim by the Bahraini government is dangerous fantasy. This deceitful ‘job done’ approach makes real reform even less likely. Bahrain’s human rights crisis isn’t over, it’s deepening—its jails are full of political prisoners, dissent is stifled, and reports of torture are common. Trying to close the book on BICI doesn’t mean the story has ended, and Bahrain can’t say it has reformed just because it pretends to. Today’s lavish ceremony looked more like a festival of self-congratulation than what Bahrain really needs—an end to show trials and justice for peaceful dissidents attacked by the regime.”
The Bahraini government today held a ceremony to mark “the completion of the implementation of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) recommendations.” During the ceremony, attended by Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa and Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, the Bahrain government claimed that all of the BICI recommendations had been implemented, failing to recognize the regime’s ongoing targeting of human rights defenders and peaceful opposition leaders.
The BICI was commissioned by the Bahraini regime following widespread unrest and a violent government crackdown in 2011. Since the BICI report was released, no senior government figure has been held accountable for the arrests or deaths in custody, and key political leaders remain in jail. Human Rights First’s interviews with Bahraini activists and civil society leaders have revealed an enduring human rights crisis in the country, marked by denial of basic rights including freedom of association, assembly, and expression, arbitrary arrests and torture of human rights activists and opposition leaders. A recent Human Rights First blueprint outlines recommendations for the U.S. government to support civil society and strengthen respect for human rights.