On 4 August 2015, Julie Ward MEP from the United Kingdom issued a Parliamentary Question (Question for written answer E-012018/2015) addressed to the High Representative/Vice-President Ms Federica Mogherini on the Situation of Human Rights in Bahrain and the case of Nabeel Rajab. The question is in relation to the Bahraini’s government response to the Urgency Resolution the European Parliament adopted on 9 July 2015.
The Bahrain government dismissed the Urgency Resolution, which condemns the Human Rights violations in Bahrain, as not representing the majority of the chamber, neither a common position from the European Union. However, 25 MEPs have decided to co-sign this question, showing the Bahraini government the unity of the European Parliament.
The question reads:
“On 9 July 2015, Parliament adopted a resolution in which it called on the Bahraini Government for the ‘dropping of charges and immediate and unconditional release of all human rights defenders, political activists and other individuals […], including Nabeel Rajab, Sheikh Ali Salman and the “Bahrain 13”‘, expressed ‘its grave concern regarding the misuse of anti-terrorism laws in Bahrain’, condemned ‘the continuing use of torture and other cruel, degrading treatment or punishment’, and encouraged the Government of Bahrain to cooperate with the UN special rapporteurs, to ‘take all steps to guarantee an impartial and fair judicial system’, and to ‘pursue the national consensus dialogue with a view to finding lasting and inclusive national reconciliation and sustainable political solutions for the crisis’.
The following day, the Bahraini Ministry for Foreign Affairs stated that the text adopted ‘does not reflect the stance of effective influential political forces nor does it reflect the position of the European Union’.
Does the Vice-President / High Representative agree with the statement issued by the Bahraini Ministry of Foreign Affairs? Can the VP/HR clarify whether, and to what extent exactly, the EU stance differs from that of Parliament?”
The question was co-signed by MEPs Julie Ward (S&D), Ana Gomes (S&D), Claude Moraes (S&D), Fernando Maura Barandiarán (ALDE), Pablo Iglesias (GUE/NGL), Siôn Simon (S&D), Petr Ježek (ALDE), Barbara Spinelli (GUE/NGL), Soraya Post (S&D), Stelios Kouloglou (GUE/NGL), David Martin (S&D), Catherine Stihler (S&D), Marian Harkin (ALDE), Patricija Šulin (PPE), Derek Vaughan (S&D), Petras Auštrevičius (ALDE), Richard Howitt (S&D), Keith Taylor (Verts/ALE), Milan Zver (PPE), Tanja Fajon (S&D), Lynn Boylan (GUE/NGL), Tania González Peñas (GUE/NGL), Fabio Massimo Castaldo (EFDD), Tonino Picula (S&D) and Louis Michel (ALDE).
Ms Mogherini now has 8 weeks to issue an official answer to the question. ECDHR will be monitoring this closely.