Written answers

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Human Rights

Photo of Seán HaugheySeán Haughey (Dublin Bay North, Fianna Fail)
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120. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if the issue of Bahrain and reported human rights abuses has been raised at the EU Foreign Affairs Council; if he has expressed his views to the Bahraini authorities regarding human rights there, including the treatment of prisoners; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51610/19]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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The human rights situation in Bahrain remains a matter of concern. Although progress has been made in certain areas, there continue to be instances of violations of fundamental freedoms, including the targeting of human rights defenders.

While the issue of Bahrain has not been raised at the Foreign Affairs Council recently, the EU and Bahrain hold regular discussions on human rights issues. At the most recent informal EU-Bahrain Human Rights dialogue on 7 November 2019, issues discussed included the right to a fair trial, prison conditions (including the need to ensure adequate medical treatment for prisoners) and the overall human rights situation in the country.

Ireland regularly raises our concerns about the human rights situation with the Bahraini authorities. When I met the Bahraini Foreign Minister in New York in September I made a point of raising the human rights situation directly with him, with a view to having open and honest discussion on these issues.

Officials from my Department met with a delegation from Bahrain in November and had an in-depth discussion on prison conditions and the justice system in Bahrain. Among the issues raised were Ireland’s concerns about the imprisonment of certain individuals, apparently on the basis of opinions they had expressed; and the provision of healthcare for prisoners in Bahrain. The Bahraini officials outlined specific plans to improve prisoners’ access to healthcare. My officials will continue to follow up on this matter.

My Department will continue to monitor developments in Bahrain, and to urge the Bahraini Government to deliver on its stated commitment to make progress in relation to human rights.


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