Bahraini riot policemen walk in a street while dispersing protesters during an anti-government demonstration named as "Right of peaceful protests" in the village of Bori, south of Manama on 27 June 2012.(Photo: AFP~ Mohammed Al-Shaikh)
The United States and the United Kingdom on Thursday declined to sign a UN document condemning the ongoing human rights abuses in Bahrain.
The UN Human Rights Council document, which was signed by major European countries including Germany and France, calls on the Gulf state to do more to protect civil liberties in the country.
“We express our concern over the human rights situation in Bahrain, both the violations that took place in February and March 2011 as well as the related ongoing ones,” the document said.
“We are particularly concerned about the consequences faced by those who protested for democratic change in a peaceful manner,” it adds.
Bahraini forces, backed by Saudi troops, crushed a pro-democracy uprising in early 2011, but protests have reemerged in recent months despite repression.
The US has remained quiet on the human rights situation in the country, which is the host of its Fifth Fleet, while condemning government crackdowns in Syria and elsewhere.
Bahraini activists have accused global bodies such as the Human Rights Council of being pressured into silence on the issue.
Maryam Al-Khawaja, acting head of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, welcomed the ruling.
“This is the first step in showing that the Human Rights Council will not allow the implementation of double standards, although they have allowed it this long,” she said.
However she condemned the decision by the US and Britain to not sign the treaty as evidence of “double standards” on human rights.
“The thing that disappoints us most is the fact that the United Kingdom and the United States decided not to sign, which to us says a lot more about how they are insisting on implementing double standards when it comes to supporting or standing against human rights violations in different countries.”