On 1 February 2019, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) has adopted its concluding observations on Bahrain’s recent review before the Committee and published them on 7 February. The Committee welcomes the progress achieved by Bahrain in various areas, in particular the ratification in 2011 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the implementation of the Child Act in 2012, the Family Act in 2017, the first National Strategy for Children 2013-2017 and the National Youth Strategy, as well as the establishment of the National Human Rights Institution in 2014.
Notwithstanding these formal commitments, the UN Committee has made several recommendations to the Bahraini Government regarding children’s right; the detention of children in adult prisons; the violation of children’s human rights; the increasing number of children who are at risk of being stateless; the discrimination against girls and children with disabilities; and so forth in the hope that the government will fully implement them.
More broadly, the Committee “is concerned about reports of restrictions on the work of civil society organizations and human rights defenders, including those working on children’s rights; the increasing number of reports of the intimidation, harassment and arbitrary detention of human rights defenders; and the absence of alternative reports received by the Committee from national civil society organizations on the implementation of the Convention in the State party. The Committee reminds the State party of the important role of independent civil society organizations and human rights defenders in promoting the human rights of children.”
The European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR) welcomes the Committee’s comments and the thoughtful scrutiny of the current status of child rights in Bahrain and calls upon the Government of Bahrain to accept and implement the suggested recommendations. ECDHR calls urge States and the international community, especially Bahrain’s key allies and the EU, to hold the Government of Bahrain to its treaty and human rights obligations and to put an end to its systematic human rights violations.