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Human Rights Council 31st Session, Item 6: General Debate Oral Statement

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Mr. President,

This statement is delivered by FIDH together with its member organizations the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) and Human Rights in China. It is critical for the robust and constructive functioning of the UPR process that states report on their progress in implementing the recommen­dations they have received and accepted. As the third cycle of the UPR approaches, FIDH wishes to highlight two examples of sub-optimal use of the process.

Bahrain will be among the first states to be reviewed for the third time. Despite the government's rhetoric on its so-called “cooperation” with the UPR process, it has failed to implement some of the most important recommendations it received four years ago. These include recommendations on upholding freedom of expression, reining in security forces, imple­menting extensive human rights trainings to end abuses, bring­ing arbitrary and incommuni­cado detentions to an end, and under­taking measures to prevent incite­ment to sectarianism. Bahrain not only has failed to implement meaningful UPR recommen­dations that would bring about human rights progress; it has purpose­fully undermined many of them by engaging in campaigns of mass arbitrary detentions to silence dissent, further criminalizing free­doms of speech and of peaceful assembly, and failing to hold security forces accountable for acts of torture and excessive use of for­ce. Bahrain’s lack of any meaningful reform to date is in part due to the international community’s failure to use the UPR process to hold the government to account. 

Another example is China, which accepted over 200 recommendations during its 2013 UPR re­view, including in relation to protections for rights defense lawyers, civil society, and freedom of expression. However, China has failed to report on any progress in that regard. Instead, we have seen a dramatic decline in the national human rights situation through control over civil society space, informa­tion flow and expression, and restrictive legislation in the name of national security. We urge states to  call for progress and accountability on China's accepted recommendations.

Thank you for your attention.

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