Members of the European Parliament Call on Bahrain to Uphold Civil and Political Rights
Brussels – Salam for Democracy and Human Rights (SALAM DHR)
On May 11th, 2023, a group of 8 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) sent a letter (attached) to King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain expressing their concerns over the human rights situation in Bahrain and the continued detention of political prisoners and human rights defenders.
The letter was signed by the following MEPs representing 5 different European Political Parties:
- Dietmar Köster (S&D)
- Mounir Satouri (The Greens/EFA)
- Karen Melchior (Renew)
- Janina Ochojska (EPP)
- Özlem Demirel (The Left)
- Ana Miranda (The Greens/EFA)
- Margrete Auken (The Greens/EFA)
- Kira Marie Peter-Hansen (The Greens/EFA)
The MEPs called on the Government of Bahrain (GoB) to release all political prisoners and protect human rights defenders, in line with the recommendations of the United Nations’ Human Rights Committee and the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. They also deplored instances of voter suppression and the rejection of international standards in relation to freedom of association, which resulted in the holding of parliamentary elections that were neither free nor fair in November 2022.
The European Parliamentarians also urged the Bahraini authorities to reverse the downward trajectory of human rights and democracy in the country. Specifically, they emphasized the need to take immediate and concrete steps to prevent torture and other forms of ill-treatment, as recommended by UN human rights bodies.
The MEPs also acknowledged the establishment of the National Human Rights Plan (NHRP) in Bahrain. However, they expressed concerns that it may be a means to whitewash deeply rooted inequities and human rights violations in the country. They urged the authorities to implement the NHRP with proper oversight from independent bodies and human rights organizations to ensure its effectiveness and credibility.
The letter concludes with a list of recommendations to the GoB, including:
• The immediate and unconditional release of all human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience, who have been detained and sentenced for merely exercising their right to freedom of expression, and to drop all charges against them;
• Engagement in a meaningful and concrete manner with UN human rights bodies by extending a standing invitation to visit Bahrain to all Special Procedures of the UN Human Rights Council;
• Implementation in an objectively verifiable way the recommendations of all UN human rights mechanisms such as treaty bodies and Special Procedures; and
• Ending the excessive and arbitrary restrictions on civic space that are not in line with international human rights standards.
SALAM DHR welcomes the MEPs’ call for the GoB to respect civil and political rights and protect human rights defenders. We join them in urging the authorities in Bahrain to take immediate action to address the human rights situation in the country and to ensure the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms for all people of Bahrain.
SALAM DHR remains committed to promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms in Bahrain.
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