Bahrain: Updates on European Parliamentary Questions

Since the beginning of the 9th European Parliament legislature, there have been four parliamentary questions addressed by Members of the European Parliament to the High Representative Vice President Josep Borrell; two of these questions have been answered.

In November 2019, former MEP Bennion (Renew Europe political group) raised Ms Hajer Mansoor’s preclusion from medical treatment, she has been jailed in retaliation for her son-in-law’s activism.

On the 5th of February, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell responded, stating that the EU “is engaging the Bahraini authorities on the matter” – on their reprisals actions for Mr Sayed Alwadaei’s activism against his immediate family. Borrell added that the “Head of EU Delegation took up the issue again with the Bahraini Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and conveyed the EU concerns on the matter.” Moreover, that the EU-Bahrain Human Rights dialogue, held in November, had offered the EU with another opportunity to raise this particular issue and call for Bahrain’s government to meet its international human rights obligations.

Bahrain’s appalling human rights violations were brought up in December 2019, MEPs Francesca Donato, Marco Zanni, Anna Bonfrisco, Annalisa Tardino (Identity and Democracy political group) questioned the Commission over the EU’s engagements: “what steps will it take in the future so human rights are really respected in Bahrain?”. In its February reply, Mr Josep Borrell presented the issues raised during the European External Action Service most recent Human Rights Dialogue with Bahrain: freedom of expression, association, religion, fair trial, death penalty, and the overall human rights situation in the country, as well as their regular exchanges on individual cases. He also pointed out the EU Delegation’s work in Riyadh, the EU public statements on individual cases, and the EU work at the UN Human Rights Council sessions.

Lastly, in January 2020, former MEP Jude Kirton-Darling (Socialists and Democrats political group) tabled a parliamentary question on Bahrain’s High Court of Appeals decision to uphold the death sentences of Mr Mohamed Ramadhan and Mr Husain Moosa, on the 8th of January 2020. MEPs Charlie Weimers and Christine Anderson (Identity and Democracy political group) raised concerns over the conditions of detention of female prisoners in Bahrain, especially in the Isa Town prison, focusing on the cases of Ms Medina Ali and Ms Zakeya AlBarboori. The question also emphasised the common police’s practice of arbitrary detention and collective punishment. These questions have not been answered as of yet.

The European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR) welcomes the interest shown by the European Parliament in the ongoing human rights violations. It also encourages the European Parliament and HR/VP Borrell to take a firm stance for the protection of human rights in Bahrain.

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