Parliamentary question on human rights in Bahrain during a belgian parliament’s foreign affairs committee session

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On the 21st of January 2020, Mr Cogolati – a member of the Belgian House of Representatives from the Ecolo-Groen party – issued a parliamentary question on the human rights situation in Bahrain during a session of the committee on foreign affairs to the Belgian Minister for foreign affairs, Phillippe Goffin. 

Mr Cogolati firstly highlighted cases of human rights abuses: the conditions of detention of the 4000 political prisoners in Bahraini jails, as well as the cases of torture victims Mr Ramadan and Mr Moosa, now at imminent risk of execution.

Mr Cogolati then directly asked Mr Goffin in what manner does Belgium engage with Bahrain in regard to the human rights situation in the country: 

“Mr Minister, what assessment does Belgium make of the human rights situation in Bahrain? What action is available for Belgium to use to promote human rights in Bahrain? How was the human rights situation in Bahrain addressed by Belgium during the 3rd cycle of the bilateral political consultation organised on the side of the 15th summit of the IISS Manama Dialogue to which Belgium was a participant? Finally does Belgium confirm that a number of prisoners do not have access to medical attention? If yes, has Belgium condemned this preclusion of prisoner’s rights in its bilateral relations with the Kingdom of Bahrain?”

Minister Goffin expressed his concern regarding the sentences of Husain Moosa and Mohamed Ramadan, saying:

“Despite the concerns we have expressed regarding their right to a fair trial, the death penalty ruling of Mr Mohamed Ramadan and Mr Hussain Ali Moosa was confirmed.” adding: “Belgium fully subscribes to the declaration from the European Union and its demand to Bahraini authorities to suspend the execution of these two individuals”

Mr Goffin ended his response by detailing the different initiatives Belgium has enacted to engage Bahrain on its human rights abuses and reiterated the need for the full implementation of the BICI report and that: 

“Bahrain’s long-term stability is first and foremost in Bahrain’s own interest. This stability may only last if it is fostered in an environment where legitimate political grievances can be voiced.”

You can read the full exchange in French here (on page 27) and the translation into english here.

The European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR) welcomes the parliamentary question issued by Mr Cogolati as well as Mr Goffin’s answer on Belgium’s diplomatic approaches towards the Kingdom of Bahrain’s obligation under international law.