Irish FM: Escalation in Bahrain Worrying, We Urged Authorities to Fulfill their Stated Commitments

2018-09-24 - 8:35 م

Bahrain Mirror- Exclusive: Simon Coveney, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, said that he is very concerned about reports concerning health deterioration of political prisoners in Bahrain, including Hasan Mushaima.

Responding to a written question raised by Irish MP Seán Crowe regarding the health deterioration of political prisoners and being denied access to sufficient healthcare, including Hasan Mushaima, and if he will raise this issue and the case of Mushaima with his Bahraini counterpart, Coveney said "I am aware the individual in question, and other prisoners, have been denied adequate healthcare in prison," stressing that "Ireland attaches great importance to safeguarding the human rights of all prisoners, with due regard for the international standards enshrined in the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners."

Coveney expressed his concerns about the deteriorating human rights situation in Bahrain. He added "Although Bahrain has repeatedly stated its commitment to improving its human rights record and safeguarding human rights as enshrined in the Bahraini Constitution, there are ongoing instances of violations of fundamental freedoms there, including violations of freedom of opinion and expression."

He indicated that a number of worrying developments suggest an increasingly restrictive approach, targeting those who express views which oppose or challenge the Government in any way.

The shrinking of civil and political space is particularly concerning in light of parliamentary elections which are due to take place in November this year.

Coveney stressed that Ireland's concerns about human rights issues in Bahrain are regularly conveyed to the Bahraini authorities, including through the Bahraini Embassy in London and through Ireland's (non-resident) Ambassador to Bahrain. He noted that in February of this year, officials from my Department met with the Ambassador of Bahrain in Dublin, and raised Ireland's concerns about the human rights situation in Bahrain, including Hasan Mushaima's case. He further stated "My Department will continue to monitor the situation in Bahrain, and will continue to call on the Bahraini Government to make good on their stated commitment to make progress in the area of human rights."

Coveney said that Ireland also regularly raises the case of human rights in Bahrain at the Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva, in the form of national statements and its support to EU Statements. In Ireland's most recent Item 4 Statement (human rights situations that require the Council's attention) at the HRC session in September 2018, we expressed our concerns about "the ongoing restrictions on civil society space and the treatment of human rights defenders in Bahrain". We also called on Bahrain "to respect freedom of opinion and expression, and the right to a fair trial."

France also said in the same session in HRC that Bahrain is among the countries where human rights defenders are silenced, after the crackdown following the peaceful protests killed hundreds of people. It added that a number of actives parties in the civil society are being threatened with death and sentenced in unfair trials.

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