Qatar withdraws recommendation made to Bahrain in unprecedented move

On 5 May 2017, at time of adoption of the Draft Working Group Report of Bahrain, Qatar took the floor to withdraw a recommendation it made to Bahrain.

May 1 2017 saw the first UPR Working Group Review of the 3rd cycle, in which the human rights situation in Bahrain was examined. During the 3.5 hour review, Bahrain received a total of 176 recommendations, two of them made by Qatar. These recommendations were:
(i) (6.84) Strengthen health services for prisoners and detainees, and
(ii) (6.125) Take effective measures to raise awareness of the rights stipulated in the conventions it acceded to, concerning the judiciary and law enforcement officials.

The first recommendation, regarding the health provisions for prisoners and detainees, was withdrawn by the delegation of Qatar. Qatar had presented after the review an amendment to said recommendation “in order to put it in line with what [they] meant”. As the amendment did not occur, Qatar took the floor during the adoption to call for the withdrawal of said recommendation.

This is the first time that a recommending State withdraws a recommendation. UPR Info condemns this behaviour, as it undermines the integrity of the UPR mechanism and hopes that it will not become a precedent. We recall the HRC President letter of 18 September 2013, which states that “all recommendations made during the review should be [...] listed [...] in the body of report in its conclusions / recommendations section”. We call on all States to condemn this move during the item 6 general debate at the next HRC session in June and during the Working Group report adoption in September.

You can see the video of the Adoption of the Working Group Report of Bahrain here.