An independent United Nations human rights expert today urged Bahrain’s Government to amend a new counter-terrorism bill, expressing concern that the law could harm human rights in the country and would be “particularly troubling” as the Kingdom is a member of the newly constituted UN Human Rights Council.
The bill, titled “Protecting Society from Terrorists Acts,” is awaiting ratification by the Head of State before becoming law, but the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, Martin Scheinin, called for the legislative and executive branches to “reconsider.”
“While fully conscious of the fact that States’ obligation to protect and promote human rights requires them to take effective measures to combat terrorism, I encourage the executive and legislative branches of Government to make amendments to this bill to bring it in line with international human rights law.
“Disregarding concerns based on international human rights standards would be particularly troubling in the case of a country that is a member of the newly constituted UN Human Rights Council.”
The Special Rapporteur wrote to the Government in March and again last month, when this bill was before Parliament, identifying some issues of concern regarding the proposed legislation and he also listed these four broad areas in today’s statement.
He said he was concerned that:
Mr. Scheinin and other Special Rapporteurs are independent, unpaid experts with a mandate from the Human Rights Council.