USCIRF Annual Report 2012 - Other National and Regional Issues: Bahrain

USCIRF also followed events in Bahrain in 2011, including the abuses committed by the government against protestors. In response to the violence, the Bahraini Independent Commission on Inquiry (BICI), created and funded by the Bahraini government, released a 500-page report detailing systematic and egregious abuses in the government's response to protests.

The BICI report includes findings and recommendations related to the destruction of 53 Shi'a religious structures by Bahraini authorities between March 1 and May 11, 2011. The report found that, in violation of its own law, the Bahraini government did not give adequate notice of the demolitions nor did it allow judicial review before the demolitions took place.

In a December 2011 public statement, USCIRF welcomed the King's decision to establish the BICI, as well as his announcement that the government intends to rebuild Shi'a places of worship. However, USCIRF found that the BICI recommendations were incomplete because they did not help ensure that illegally destroyed religious structures are rebuilt or that the Shi'a community is adequately compensated or restituted for the loss of religious materials. USCIRF also noted the importance that these structures be rebuilt in close consultation with the local Shi'a community and not unilaterally. Furthermore, USCIRF concluded that findings in the BICI report do not address allegations by multiple human rights groups that some individual members of the Shi'a community were harassed, interrogated, and arrested for returning to some of the destroyed sites to pray or retrieve religious materials. USCIRF recommended that these allegations should be addressed and officials responsible should be reprimanded and held to account.


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