5 April 2016, London – The Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) welcomes the final report of the Foreign Affairs Committee’s Human Rights Inquiry, published today.
The UK Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) has called on the Foreign & Commonwealth Office to include Bahrain as a Human Rights Priority Country in its upcoming human rights report, and states that failure to do so “contributes to the perception that the FCO has become more hesitant in promoting and defending international human rights openly and robustly.”
The report also finds a clear perception that the UK’s human rights work has been deprioritised and calls for significant change in the execution of human rights policies. It recommended stronger evaluation and assessment measures for the FCO’s human rights work.
The FAC will also monitor the FCO’s work on particular case studies and themes. We strongly welcome their decision to begin monitoring the FCO’s work on Waleed Abu Al-Khair and Mohammad Fahad Al-Qahtani, two Saudi Arabian political prisoners, and the FCO’s work for the ratification and enforcement of the UN Convention Against Torture worldwide.
Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, Director of Advocacy, BIRD: “We welcome the FAC’s recommendations and monitoring. The FCO has been roundly criticised for its previous failures, but we want to see them take that on board and change. The first step is to include Bahrain in their human rights report and criticise its failures. We will be monitoring them to see that they do so.”
BIRD submitted evidence to the FAC’s inquiry in February this year. BIRD’s evidence found that the FCO’s human rights work has been done opaquely, without comprehensive evaluation or assessment, and previous FCO assessments of Bahrain’s human rights situation have contradicted the findings of Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and other NGOs. BIRD recommended that FCO assistance programmes should be “subject to suspension if pre-determined objectives or proportionate tangible outcomes have not been met within a reasonable timescale.”