Four members of Dáil Éireann–Niall Collins TD, Brendan Howlin TD, Thomas Pringle TD, Joe O’Brien TD–put forward a number of questions to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney TD, concerning the case of Sheikh Zuhair Jasim Mohamed Abbas. Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) welcomes the parliamentary questions and thanks these TDs for their continued advocacy against Bahrain’s human rights abuses.
Deputy Collins asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs “his views on a matter [the case of Sheikh Zuhair Jasim Mohamed Abbas]; and if he will make a statement on the matter.”
Deputy Howlin asked the Minister “if his attention has been drawn to the case of a person [Sheikh Zuhair Jasim Mohamed Abbas]; if this case has been raised with the Bahrain authorities; and if he will make a statement on the matter.”
Deputy Pringle asked, “Minister for Foreign Affairs if he has raised the case of a person [Sheikh Zuhair Jasim Mohamed Abbas] in Bahrain either multilaterally or bilaterally with Bahraini Government officials; and if he will make a statement on the matter.”
Deputy O’Brien asked, “the Minister for Foreign Affairs if his attention has been drawn to the case of a person [Sheikh Zuhair Jasim Mohamed Abbas] who it is alleged has been detained without due process and tortured by the government of Bahrain; if he and his colleagues in the EU Foreign Affairs Council have raised this with Bahraini officials; and if he will make a statement on the matter.”
Four further members of Dáil Éireann–Heather Humphreys TD, Bernard Durkan TD, Richard Bruton TD, Jim O’Callaghan TD–raised the case of Sheikh Zuhair Jasim Mohamed Abbas with Minister Coveney and were directed to Minister Coveney’s response on 14 January 2021 to parliamentary questions on this issue. In his response to these four TDs, Minister Coveney noted that “[t]he Irish Government will continue to use all available avenues to raise human rights concerns with the Bahraini authorities” and that “I [Simon Coveney] am committed to working to ensure that human rights issues remain high on the international agenda, particularly during Ireland’s tenure on the UN Security Council.”
In his response to the parliamentary questions put forward by Deputies Collins, Howlin, Pringle, and O’Brien, Minister Simon Coveney noted that officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs have raised this case directly with the Bahraini authorities. Furthermore, Minister Coveney declared that “[t]he human rights situation in Bahrain remains a matter of serious concern” and that, “[a]lthough Bahrain has repeatedly stated its commitment to improving its human rights record and safeguarding human rights … we are concerned by ongoing instances of violations of fundamental freedoms, including violations of freedom of opinion and expression, as well as the targeting of human rights defenders.” Minister Coveney also stressed that “[r]espect for human rights is an integral part of Ireland’s foreign policy and we consistently seek to raise our concerns on human rights issues through the most appropriate and effective channels”.
Minister Coveney concluded his answer to the parliamentary questions by stating that “Ireland will continue to monitor developments in Bahrain, and to call on the Bahraini Government to deliver on its stated commitment to make progress in relation to human rights.”