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BAHRAIN: WINDOW-DRESSING OR PIONEERS OF CHANGE?: AN ASSESSMENT OF BAHRAIN'S HUMAN RIGHTS OVERSIGHT BODIES

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Five years have passed since the government agreed to adopt the measures the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry report said were needed to address the serious human rights violations committed during the 2011 uprising and hold those suspected to be responsible to account. The Bahraini government claims that the human rights oversight bodies it created, the Ombudsman of the Ministry of Interior and the Special Investigations Unit, have served this purpose. The two institutions were given wide-reaching mandates and resources to ensure accountability, and have received support and training from in particular the UK government. They have achieved some successes in investigating and prosecuting human rights violations. However, they have too often failed to fulfil their roles in a sufficiently prompt, adequate and transparent manner to ensure accountability and act as an effective deterrent. Much work is still needed to break the country’s long-standing culture of impunity. The Ombudsman and the Special Investigations Unit need to urgently address their failings if they are not to lose credibility. In particular, they must ensure all alleged human rights violations are investigated in an effective, adequate, transparent and prompt manner and those responsible are brought to justice.

 

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