UPDATE 17-09-12 Reports now say the live stream has been opened again in Bahrain.
According to many internet users in Bahrain, the authorities have blocked access to the live video stream from the United Nations Human Rights Council.
This extraordinary move comes as Bahrain turns it attention to Geneva where the formal adoption of the Universal Periodic Review will take place next week. In May this year Bahrain came under huge scrutiny in the UPR session from many member states, and this latest move to stop Bahrainis from watching the latest session seems to predict further criticism.
Earlier in the week Bahrain told the council that it plans to accept 156 out of the 176 recommendations from member states, and indeed claim they have reformed their media in line with recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry. Yet such reforms have been questioned in the past with many opposition websites (such as this one) being blocked to Bahraini users. This latest move is another clear signal that real reforms have yet to take place.
It also shows the real attitude of the Bahraini regime towards the UPR and indeed the UN as a whole. In a tweet earlier in the week the Foreign Minister tried to downplay the UPR by saying ‘We will talk for an hour and then go home’. However it seems that the Government is taking the UPR more seriously and is worried of yet more criticism on the international stage. Human rights activists in Bahrain claim that since the UPR began in May, violations and abuses have accelerated, rather than stopped.
Although the stream is blocked, rest assured BJDM will be reporting live from Geneva throughout the process, updating you with the latest news.