Bahrain will no longer run in an election to the UN’s top human rights body later this month, after critics drew attention to alleged human rights violations.
A UN site showed that Bahrain withdrew its candidacy on 26 September to run for a three-year seat at the Geneva-based body, without giving details.
An unnamed Bahrain government spokesperson said in a statement that the deferral of the candidacy “results from ongoing consultation with its geographical group,” claiming that the step was a standard practice.
Bahrain, home to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, has imprisoned thousands of protesters, journalists and activists – some in mass trials – since an anti-government uprising in 2011.
However, the Bahraini government said it prosecutes in accordance with international law those who commit crimes, and rejects criticism from the United Nations and others over the conduct of trials and detention conditions.
A memo circulated among the UNHRC members by the London-based Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) drew attention to arbitrary detentions as well as reprisals against individuals.
A scorecard published by the International Service for Human Rights gave Bahrain a green tick for just three of 16 criteria, one of the lowest scores among candidate countries.
The rights council does not make legally binding decisions but it carries political weight and can authorise investigations which sometimes help international trials. Elections are due to take place later this month at the U.N. General Assembly in New York.
In this regard, we stress the need of preventing any country violating human rights of joining any of the UN bodies, as human rights violators can never protect human rights.