Five members of the Dáil Éireann–Joan Collins TD, Ruairí Ó Murchú TD, Seán Haughey TD, John Brady TD, Sean Sherlock TD–have tabled questions to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney TD, in relation to what efforts Ireland has made to lead a joint statement in the UN Human Rights Council for the upcoming 80th meeting of the Standing Committee, as well as to Minister Coveney if he will comment on the deteriorating human rights situation in Jau Prison as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Furthermore, four Senators–Vincent P Martin, David Norris, Joe O’Brien, Paul Gavan–have raised the issues in Jau Prison with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, in the form of direct correspondences. Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) welcomes these questions and thanks these TDs and Senators for their continued advocacy against human rights abuses in Bahrain.
Joan Collins TD asked Minister Coveney “if Ireland will lead a joint statement in the UN Human Rights Council for the upcoming 80th meeting of the Standing Committee.”
Ruairí Ó Murchú TD asked Minister Coveney “if his attention has been drawn to a significant COVID-19 outbreak in Jau Prison in Bahrain; the details of the recent engagement he has had with the UN Human Rights Council and the EU-Bahrain human rights dialogue regarding Bahraini prisoners of conscience and their treatment; and if he will make a statement on the matter.”
Seán Haughey TD asked Minister Coveney “if he will raise concerns regarding the treatment of political prisoners in Jau prison in Bahrain; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that an outbreak of COVID-19 and overcrowding in the prison generally represent a serious threat to the health and welfare of the prisoners; and if he will make a statement on the matter.”
John Brady TD asked Minister Coveney “if he will call for the release of Bahraini prisoners of conscience given the abuse and the rampant spread of COVID-19 within the prison system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. Also, if he will condemn the mistreatment of Bahraini prisoners of conscience who are being abused by prison authorities on a daily basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter.”
Seán Sherlock TD asked Minister Coveney “if his attention has been drawn to the death of a person [Abbas Mal Allah] while detained in Jau Prison; if he has made representations to the Bahraini Government regarding the alleged maltreatment of political prisoners in Bahraini prisons; and if he will make a statement on the matter.”
In Minister Coveney’s reply, he proposed to answer the above-mentioned questions together. He claimed that “the human rights situation in Bahrain remains a matter of serious concern” and that “Ireland is 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 and the mistreatment of prisoners”. He added that “respect for human rights is an integral part of Ireland’s foreign policy and that [Ireland] consistently seeks to raise its concerns on human rights issues through the most appropriate and effective channels”, namely the UN Human Rights Council. The answers provided to the Senators correspondences were similar in form and contents.