Bahrain, Burma, United Nations

The need to do more for Burma refugees

Megan Welby speaking on behalf of the Next Century Foundation notes the shortcoming of the Human Rights Council to engage effectively with some key states, which are then blamed for not stepping up to the requirements of the HRC. There seems to be a strong element of hubris on all sides. Continuing reluctance on the part of those criticised often competes with a lack of recognition of the progress made by these states by the HRC. As a case in point, we note with equal concern to the High Commissioner the growing crisis cast upon the Rohingyas in Myanmar. In light of the mass exodus since 25th August, we urge the HRC to strongly urge that Bangladesh, India and Myanmar all sign the Refugee Convention, to ensure their compliance to international law and human rights standards on the treatment of refugees. Without the boundaries of this Convention in place, refugees are left exposed to serious protection risks. However, the NCF also notes that the HRC declaims the use of torture in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The real problem in this instance is Bahrain’s failure to deliver a proper response to international requests for access and information. Unknown to many, Bahrain has a Ministry of Interior Ombudsman who is present here in Geneva now. The Next Century Foundation calls upon the Government of Bahrain to reconsider the ratification of OPCAT. However, we further believe that the Government of Bahrain might be encouraged to so do, if the HRC approached its issues of concern with greater understanding on the incremental progress that continues to be made.