Belgian Senator Raises Alarm Over Worsening Covid-19 Outbreak in Bahraini Prisons

A member of the Belgian Senate, Philippe Courard, tabled a written question to the Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sophie Wilmes, regarding the current COVID-19 outbreak in Bahraini prisons.  Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) welcomes this parliamentary question and thanks Senator Courard for bringing attention to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in Bahraini prisons and the danger it poses to the imprisoned human rights defenders and political activists in Bahrain.

Read the full question HERE

Senator Courard’s question is as follows:

“According to certain sources, the worsening of the spread of COVID-19 in Bahraini prisons is a very concerning matter.

I am aware that the hygiene and health conditions in Bahraini prisons have been classified as alarming by the recent European Parliament Resolution on the human rights situation in the Kingdom of Bahrain. This text was adopted by a large majority on March 11, 2021.

We also know that last April, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights urged states to free prisoners detained without a legal basis as well as political prisoners or those detained for having opinions that criticised the state, for the purpose of avoiding this exact situation that we are now facing in Bahraini prisons.

The European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR) has called our attention to this serious issue.

According to the ECDHR, we must take into consideration the urgency of the situation and the sanitary risk that this presents to political prisoners and prisoners of conscience currently detained.

It is urgent to provide medical care to those detainees that have tested positive for COVID-19, and to release immediately those that have not yet been infected. Those who are currently ill require urgent medical attention.

This is a matter for the Senate, as the federated entities have jurisdiction over international matters. The management of the pandemic that has hit the world is also, in my opinion, a matter for all levels of government.

  1. Do you have any additional information on the dramatic situation of the prisoners in question?
  2. What is the status of the issue? Are there contacts with your colleagues at other levels of power to respond to this situation?”

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sophie Wilmes, to whom the question was posed, has yet to provide an answer.