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.