Human Rights Groups: Bahrain Should Stop Denying Children Abuse Acts

Published June 8th, 2021 - 08:32 GMT
2011 protest in Manama, Bahrain
Bahraini children were taking part in a celebration commemorating the anniversary of their Arab Spring protests. (Shutterstock: Arnaud Martinez)

In response to a recent report that was issued by the Bahrain government denying human rights abuse against four children in detention centers, Human Rights Watch has released a new statement urging Bahraini officials to stop denying the reports and to hold police officers accountable after a transparent investigation.

Last spring, four Bahraini minors under 18 years old reported having been summoned and arrested by the Criminal Investigations Department back in November 2011, during which they say have been "threatened with rape and electric shocks," while  denied the right to call lawyers or have legal guardians represent with them.

Amnesty international had detailed the anecdotes of all four Bahraini children in March 2021, calling on Bahraini authorities to "investigate the reasons why the boys have been interrogated without a lawyer or legal guardian and urge you to refer their cases to the child justice system. I call on you to treat all four boys in a manner consistent with their best interests as children and ensure that detention is used only as a measure of last resort, and for the shortest possible time; and prioritise use of alternatives to custody, throughout proceedings."

However, the Bahraini government responded with official statements denying any abuse against the four minors who were arrested in the wake of protests that celebrated the anniversary of the Bahraini Arab Spring uprising in February 2011, one that faced a fierce crackdown by troops sent by GCC and other regional countries.

Moreover, the HRW report cited Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy's (BIRD) letter which called on UK authorities to exert more effort to pressure the Bahraini government into a thorough more serious investigation which they hope can prevent any future human rights violations in the country's detention centers.

BIRD has particularly addressed the UK government highlighting the fact that the UK has supported Bahrain’s Interior Ministry with £6.5 million since 2012 alone and that other western countries continue to support the Bahraini government despite its record of human rights violations.

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