Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) today called on the US Administration to support fundamental freedoms in Bahrain and join 27 member states of the United Nations Human Rights Council in signing a principled statement regarding the ongoing human rights violations in Bahrain. The US is absent from the list of signatories.
The statement, which was issued yesterday, called for the implementation of recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, including accountability for officials implicated in human rights violations. It also called on the Government of Bahrain to respect fundamental freedoms and end intimidation of human rights defenders.
US Ambassador to the Human Rights Council Eileen Donahoe explained in a statement released yesterday that the US chose not to join the statement and instead is focusing on pressing Bahrain on human rights issues through its bilateral relations.
While the US has focused on Bahraini human rights abuses in the past, including in its statement during Bahrain's Universal Periodic Review before the Council, PHR is disappointed that the US did not publicly join the group of 27 nations to demonstrate its support for the joint statement.
"The international community needs to speak with one voice to show to the people of Bahrain that it supports fundamental freedoms and condemns egregious human rights violations," said PHR Washington Director and Chief Policy Officer Hans Hogrefe. "The US should seize any and all opportunities, public and private, to be consistent in our message and to make clear our concerns regarding ongoing human rights violations in Bahrain and insufficient protection mechanisms to stem attacks on peaceful protesters," said Hogrefe.
PHR recently returned from Bahrain, where it investigated the rampant misuse of toxic chemical agents on the part of the Bahraini security forces and the damaging health effects of such attacks.