In early 2011, at the start of the Arab Spring, demonstrations in Bahrain were broken up by the police and army. The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, established by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa in July 2011 to look into the disturbances, published a 500-page report in November 2011 that found that there were 35 deaths linked to the unrest between February and April 2011.

The Commission received 169 reports relating to enforced disappearances during this period and cited a separate report suggesting that approximately 1,000 individuals had been subjected to enforced disappearance in the same period.

In April 2011 Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) issued a report alleging arbitrary arrests, disappearances, and detentions of civilians and a systematic campaign of enforced disappearances aimed at medical staff in Bahrain.

In August 2013 the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, an NGO, published a report documenting multiple cases of enforced disappearance.

The Bahraini authorities insist that steps are being taken to reform the judiciary and the security forces. Nevertheless, in May 2014 a Human Rights Watch report found that members of the security forces are rarely prosecuted for human rights violations, few have been convicted, and those that have been convicted have received extremely light sentences.