Skip to Main Content
Printer Friendly Home > Press > Press Releases

For Immediate Release

PHR Welcomes the Release of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry Report

Government of Bahrain must now make substantive and irreversible human rights improvements

Cambridge, Mass - 11/23/2011

PHR welcomed today the release of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) Report and called on the Government of Bahrain to make substantive and irreversible human rights improvements in the country. PHR also calls on the US Administration to make the sale of arms to Bahrain dependent on the actual improvement of the human rights situation.

“It is no surprise that the BICI uncovered systematic torture, excessive use of force, and many of the other serious human rights violations that PHR reported. The attacks by the Government on doctors and patients, including their arbitrary arrest, detention, and torture, were indeed systematic,” said Richard Sollom, PHR’s Deputy Director. “So far, the Government appears to be saying the right things, but words are not enough. To demonstrate a real commitment to reform, the Government must now make meaningful and measurable changes.”

The long-awaited BICI report was commissioned by the King of Bahrain in response to fierce international criticism regarding the human rights situation in Bahrain in an attempt to preempt an independent UN investigation. The US Administration has repeatedly stated that the BICI Report is a key component in its decision regarding the delayed arms sale to Bahrain

“This document proves once and for all that the attacks PHR documented were systematic and the US Administration has no choice but to delay the arms sale until the human rights situation in Bahrain improves measurably and permanently,” said Hans Hogrefe, Chief Policy Officer of PHR. 

PHR calls on the Administration to make the arms sale dependent on concrete human rights improvements including:

  • The unconditional release of all prisoners of conscience, including medical workers unfairly tried;
  • Immediate reinstatement and full compensation to medical workers and all individuals who were dismissed for exercising their universally guaranteed right of freedom of speech;
  • Dropping of all politically motivated charges against medics;
  • Stopping of ongoing police raids and their excessive use of force against civilian protesters; and
  • The investigation and accountability of all individuals who ordered, condone, or committed human rights abuses.

PHR has continually condemned the human rights violations of all civilians during Bahrain’s popular uprising this year, and has called for all trials to be fair. An estimated 350 protestors remain in detention and thousands have been unfairly convicted, abused, or fired from their jobs. In April, PHR released the report Do No Harm, which detailed Bahrain’s systematic attacks on physicians, medical staff, and patients.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is an independent organization that uses medicine and science to stop mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. We are supported by the expertise and passion of health professionals and concerned citizens alike.

Since 1986, PHR has conducted investigations in more than 40 countries around the world, including Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Sudan, the United States, the former Yugoslavia, and Zimbabwe.

  • 1986 — Led investigations of torture in Chile gaining freedom for heroic doctors there
  • 1988 — First to document the Iraqi use of chemical weapons on Kurds providing               evidence for prosecution of war criminals
  • 1996 — Exhumed mass graves in the Balkans and Rwanda to provide evidence for               International Criminal Tribunals
  • 1997 — Shared the Nobel Peace Prize for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines
  • 2003 — Warned US Policymakers on health and human rights conditions prior to and               during the invasion of Iraq
  • 2004 — Documented genocide and sexual violence in Darfur in support of international               prosecutions
  • 2010 — Investigated the epidemic of violence spread by Burma’s military junta
  • 2011 — Championed the principle of noninterference with medical services in times of               armed conflict and civil unrest during the Arab Spring
  • 2012 — Trained doctors, lawyers, police, and judges in the Democratic Republic of the               Congo, Kenya, and Syria on the proper collection of evidence in sexual               violence cases
  • 2013 — Won first prize in the Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention with MediCapt, our               mobile app that documents evidence of torture and sexual violence

PHR News