The Foreign Office included a Case Study on Bahrain’s reforms in their 2013 global review of Human Rights – released 10 April 2014.

“2013 saw some positive developments for human rights in Bahrain, but a number of concerns still remain.”

We see that the Case Study is broadly positive. It welcomes a number of specific recent reforms, but does say that progress has been “slower than we would have hoped”. The planned visit of the Office of the UN Commissioner for Human Rights was also welcomed.

The Case Study also mentions some of the assistance the British Government is providing to support reforms and strengthen the rule of law.  This includes sharing of best practice in work to outlaw torture and monitor prisons. However, the Study noted that the Foreign Office was “concerned” about certain cases concerning the “accountability of police personnel”.

We have included some of the significant quotes below:

Reforms

“The government of Bahrain’s work to implement its reform programme, particularly in the judicial and security sectors, continue to suggest that the overall trajectory on human rights will be positive.

…a number of the mechanisms and legal frameworks being put in place will take time to have an impact on the ground.”

Independent Ombudsman

“Since becoming operational in 2013, the independent Ministry of Interior Ombudsman’s Office has investigated a number of complaints of mistreatment and torture. Following its first inspection at Jau prison, the Ombudsman’s Office published a report in September in which it made a number of recommendations.

We welcome the government’s implementation of the Ombudsman’s recommendations regarding the separation of juvenile detainees and examination of rehabilitation programmes.”

National Dialogue

“We welcomed the National Consensus Dialogue initiative. Along with reform, inclusive and constructive political dialogue is the only way to promote peace and stability in Bahrain, and we actively continue to encourage all sides to remain engaged in the process.”

Implementation of BICI & UN recommendations

“The government of Bahrain continues to implement the recommendations set out in the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) in 2011 and those set out in the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR). But some areas of reform have been slower than we would have hoped.

We welcome the planned technical visit of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to Bahrain in 2014.”

British assistance

“To help support the government of Bahrain, the UK is providing a comprehensive package of reform assistance, with a focus on strengthening human rights and the rule of law.

During 2013, the UK funded Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons to share best practice with the Bahrain Ministries of Interior and Justice on a National Preventative Mechanism against torture and monitoring places of detention.

The Bahraini government has since implemented new legislation, including a Royal Decree to establish an Independent Prisoners’ and Detainees’ Commission.”

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