Tuesday, 17 September 2019
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
65. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views on the ongoing political crisis and human rights violations in Bahrain; the position of Ireland on the crisis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37370/19]
The human rights situation in Bahrain remains a matter of concern. Citizens in Bahrain are living in an increasingly restrictive society and there has been further erosion of fundamental freedoms in recent years, including freedom of opinion and expression.
I was alarmed to learn of the executions of three people in July, including two human rights activists. A moratorium on the death penalty had been in place in Bahrain since 2010, and we saw the resumption of capital punishment in Bahrain in 2017 as a very negative development. Respect for human rights is an integral part of Ireland’s foreign policy, and we condemn the use of the death penalty in all circumstances. Along with our EU partners, Ireland calls on Bahrain to again introduce a moratorium on executions, as a step towards the abolition of the death penalty.
Through our interventions at the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) Ireland has sought to ensure that the human rights situation in Bahrain, and in other locations where we have concerns, remains in focus. Ireland has repeatedly raised human rights concerns in Bahrain at the HRC in recent Item 4 Statements ("human rights situations that require the Council’s attention"). For example, in September 2018, Ireland expressed concerns about the ongoing restrictions on civil society space and the treatment of human rights defenders, and called on Bahrain to respect freedom of opinion and expression, and in February 2019, we reiterated that concern at the ongoing detention of human rights defenders. At the last HRC session in June/July 2019, Ireland called on Bahrain to ensure respect for freedom of opinion and expression and the right to a fair trial. At the most recent HRC Universal Periodic Review of Bahrain's human rights record in 2017, Ireland urged Bahrain to accept an open offer by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to visit Bahrain.
We have also raised the issues of human rights in Bahrain in bilateral dialogue; for example, officials from my Department met with officials from the Bahraini Embassy in March 2019 and raised our human rights concerns directly with them.
My Department will continue to monitor developments in Bahrain, and to call on the Bahraini Government to deliver on its stated commitment to make progress in relation to human rights. We shall do so both directly with Bahraini officials, as well as at EU and international level, as opportunities arise.