We advocate to preserve the EU’s role as the bastion of the protection of human rights in the world and monitor closely the development and implementation of EU’s own strategies, guidelines and legislation which affect the respect for human rights and freedoms internationally and particularly in its partner GCC countries.
To obtain our objectives, we work closely with several EU institutions, media and other NGOs and NGO networks based or represented in Brussels.
Thanks to our network in the region and research and analytical capacities of our coalition of NGOs, we are in the position to provide timely and accurate updates from the ground and thus inform EU actions on specific and relevant policy topics.
Official relations between the European Union and countries representing Gulf Cooperation Council were regulated by the 1988 Cooperation Agreement and are effected through several channels, including:
- Annual EU-GCC Ministerial Meetings, Joint Cooperation Committees and Senior Officials Meetings
- European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with the Arab Peninsula
- EU Delegation’s in Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.
The cooperation is currently also streamlined through the Partnership Instrument (PI), EU’s funding instrument which assists activities with partner countries in a number of areas of interest.
According to the official EU data the GCC is the EU’s fifth largest export market while the EU is GCC’s biggest trading partner.
Nevertheless, the issue of the respect of human rights has always been a contentious one and different EU institutions, as well as individual member states, have on a number of occasions drawn attention to violations of fundamental human rights in some GCC countries.
Some of the steps taken by EU institutions concerning the respect for human rights in GCC countries in the past period include:
Resolutions of the European Parliament (in the 8th legislature)
- European Parliament resolution of 16 February 2017 on Executions in Kuwait and Bahrain
- European Parliament resolution of 7 July 2016 on Bahrain
- European Parliament resolution of 25 February 2016 on the humanitarian situation in Yemen
- European Parliament resolution of 4 February 2016 on Bahrain: the case of Mohammed Ramadan
- European Parliament resolution of 8 October 2015 on the case of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr
- European Parliament resolution of 9 July 2015 on Bahrain, in particular the case of Nabeel Rajab
- European Parliament resolution of 9 July 2015 on the situation in Yemen
- European Parliament resolution of 12 February 2015 on the case of Mr Raif Badawi, Saudi Arabia
- Statement by the spokesperson on the executions carried out in Bahrain (15 January 2016)
- Statement by the spokesperson on the verdict to dissolve Al Wefaq political society (19 July 2016)
- Statement by Spokesperson on recent developments in Bahrain (5 July 2016)
- Statement by the Spokesperson on the sentencing of Ali Salman (31 May 2016)
Main EU documents which regulate the Union’s position on the protection of human rights and freedoms internationally are:
- EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy
- EU Guidelines on Freedom of Expression Online and Offline
- EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders
- EU Guidelines on Human Rights Dialogues
- EU Guidelines on Death Penalty
- EU Guidelines on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment