A GOVERNMENT team is gearing up to counter claims questioning Bahrain’s human rights record at a high-level meeting in Geneva next week, according to a top official.
The delegation, comprising senior officials, will also highlight the country’s progress as it takes part in the 36th United Nations Human Rights Council Session from September 11 to 29.
Assistant Foreign Minister Abdulla Al Doseri, who will be heading the delegation, told the GDN that they have completed a report about reforms in Bahrain that will be discussed at the event.
“I will be speaking on September 21 during the council session, presenting our achievements and reforms over the years,” said Mr Al Doseri.
“We are ready for an open discussion to highlight Bahrain’s human rights records and steps taken to strengthen this important pillar of our achievement.”
The UN session will also discuss the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) which Bahrain underwent on May 1 along with other countries including Algeria, Ecuador, Finland, India, Indonesia, Netherlands, Philippines, Tunisia, and the UK.
A total of 175 recommendations were made for Bahrain by different member states during the 27th session of the UPR Working Group in May.
The country’s human rights record was previously scrutinised in 2008 and 2012, which is a regular examination of human rights in the UN’s 193 member states.
Mr Al Doseri said 75 of the 83 countries present during the UPR process praised Bahrain for achievements in protection and promotion of human rights.
“We had a successful UPR process which reflected Bahrain’s rights record that was welcomed by the international community.”
“Our follow-up report will explain steps taken to address those recommendations and we are fully committed to responding to questions and comments raised by participants,” he said.
“For example, there were several recommendations made by member states that related to empowerment of women and their rights, which was addressed when the unified family law was approved.”
Non-governmental organisations are also allowed to make brief statements during the UN session.
“The Bahrain delegation will hold side meetings with senior diplomats, UN groups and international rights bodies to discuss about our progress and challenges,” added Mr Al Doseri.
“We are keen to listen and collect their feedback to help us deal with challenges such as terrorism, Iranian interference and the Gulf crisis (Qatar).”
The GDN reported earlier this month that National Institution for Human Rights (NIHR) officials will be attending the session in Geneva, despite having no right to speak or intervene.
This was because the NIHR last year received a B ranking from Geneva-based International Co-ordinating Committee of National Human Rights Institutions (ICC), which meant it was unable to speak at Human Rights Council meetings.