MEPs write to the EU High Representative to follow-up on the human rights situation in Bahrain

14 March 2016, Brussels – The European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR), Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB), the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), and Justice Human Rights Organization (JHRO), the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) welcome the letter sent to the EU’s High Representative Ms Federica Mogherini on the issue of proper follow-up and implementation of the recommendations and actions stated in European Parliament Urgency Resolutions, notably regarding the human rights situation in Bahrain.

Since 2011, the European Parliament has adopted six Urgency Resolutions on the human rights situation in Bahrain, yet the violent repression against peaceful dissent has only continued to escalate. Freedom of speech, religion, and thought remain subject to significant restriction, with the main political opposition leaders and key civil society actors being behind bars, including human rights defenders. Added to the European Parliament’s actions, and as mentioned in the letter, the EU has adopted several guidelines protecting human rights for the EU’s foreign relations, as well as the newly adopted EU Action Plan on Democracy and Human Rights 2015-2019. These guidelines and resolutions directly concern the promotion and protection of human rights in Bahrain multilaterally by the EU’s external action, as well as bilaterally by its member states.

In the letter, the co-signatory MEPs call on the High Representative of the EU and on the European External Action Service (EEAS) to regularly inform the European Parliament about their dialogues with the Bahraini government and to provide a detailed plan of action implementing the calls made in the above-mentioned Urgency Resolutions. The cases of Mohamed Ramadan, sentenced to death in Bahrain, and of illegally-persecuted human rights defenders like Nabeel Rajab and Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja are also raised in the letter.

The EEAS is a crucial player in the EU’s relations with Bahrain, having influence on the area of human rights, where we see violations and abuses on a daily basis; the judiciary, which regularly displays significant corruption and dependence upon the government; and freedom of the press and other media, wherein journalists and users of social media often face government persecution including torture and imprisonment. We welcome the steps and actions taken by the EEAS to put an end to violations of human rights in Bahrain, but believe that better coordination with and scrutiny by the European Parliament, as well as better cooperation on the EU Action Plan on Democracy and Human Rights 2015-2019, will achieve better results.

You can find the letter sent to Ms. Mogherini here.