Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First condemns today’s decision of the Bahrain government to postpone U.N. Special Rapporteur Juan Mendez’s visit to the country. Mendez was due to travel to Bahrain for an official fact-finding mission next month, but the Bahrain News Agency has announced his visit is to be postponed indefinitely.
“This is a huge blow to the credibility of Bahrain’s reform process,” said Human Rights First’s Brian Dooley. “Mendez was originally supposed to travel to the country in February 2012 but that visit was canceled by the Bahrain government just a few weeks before he arrived. Despite repeated promises that he would be allowed in next month the same thing has happened again. The U.S. government should publicly call for his immediate access to Bahrain. These delays only fuel the suspicion that the regime has a lot to hide.”
The government’s decision comes a week after a series of reports criticized Bahrain’s failure to hold senior officials accountable for torture that has taken place since the beginning of pro-democracy protests in 2011. The U.S. State Department, U.K. government, and international NGOs have all issued reports highlighting torture and impunity problems in Bahrain.
“It seems like the Bahrain regime is frightened of what more international scrutiny might reveal. It’s very telling that they’ve shut Mendez out again,” said Dooley.