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Freedom House Opposes Bahraini Government’s Nominee for UN Human Rights Council Advisory Committee
Freedom House strongly opposes the nomination of Saeed Mohamed Al Faihani for a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) Advisory Committee.
According to the United Nations, the purpose of the UN Human Rights Council’s Advisory Committee is to “provide expertise to the Council in the manner and form requested by the Council, focusing mainly on studies and research-based advice.” Al Faihani—nominated for a committee seat by the Bahraini government—has served for many years in various government positions, mostly in the Foreign Ministry. His expertise is in presenting the Bahraini government in the ‘most positive light possible.’ In 2011, Al-Faihani denied that Bahrainis were being tortured and were taken away by “masked men” from their homes when speaking to Human Rights First; he also claimed that those who have been arrested were shown an arrest warrant and “proper documentation.” None of these assertions is true, as has been amply documented by Freedom House and other international human rights organizations.
While the Bahraini government insists that Al Faihani is an “entirely qualified” nominee, Freedom House believes the addition of Al Faihani to the Advisory Committee would be inappropriate and counterproductive to the work of the Human Rights Council, and a detriment to the rights of Bahrainis. Al Faihani is ill equipped to provide accurate and unbiased research-based advice to the Human Rights Council. Furthermore, Freedom House opposes the nomination of individuals who have held the same government position as Al Faihani.
Bahrain is ranked Not Free in Freedom in the World 2012, Freedom of the Press 2012 and Freedom on the Net 2011. Bahraini authorities have committed widespread human rights abuses, and systematically used torture against detainees since protests began in February 2011.
Freedom in the World 2012: Bahrain
Freedom of the Press 2011: Bahrain
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Blog: Freedom at Issue