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European parliamentarians call on Bahrain to stop violating civil and political rights

European parliamentarians called on the authorities of the ruling Khalifa regime in Bahrain to stop violating civil and political rights and to release political prisoners and human rights defenders.

Eight members of the European Parliament sent a letter to the King of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, to express their concerns about the human rights situation in Bahrain and the continued detention of political prisoners.

The letter was signed by the following MEPs representing 5 different European political parties:

Dietmar Koster (S&D)

Munir Satori (The Greens/EFA)

Karen Melchior (Renewal)

Janina Ochojska (EPP)

Ozlem Demirel (left)

Ana Miranda (The Greens/EFA)

Margaret O’Kane (The Greens/EFA)

Kira Marie Peter Hansen (The Greens/EFA).

MEPs called on the Government of Bahrain to release all political prisoners and protect human rights defenders, in line with recommendations of the UN Human Rights Committee and the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

They denounced instances of voter suppression and the rejection of international standards on freedom of association, which led to 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. They specifically stressed the need to take immediate and concrete steps to prevent torture and other ill-treatment, as the United Nations human rights bodies recommended.

Members of the European Parliament approved the development of the National Plan for Human Rights. However, they expressed concerns that it may be a way to whitewash deep-rooted inequalities and human rights violations in Bahrain. They urged the authorities to implement the National Human Rights Plan with appropriate oversight from independent bodies and human rights organizations to ensure its effectiveness and credibility.

The letter concluded with a list of recommendations to the Government of Bahrain, including:

  • Immediately and unconditionally release all human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience arrested and sentenced solely for exercising their right to freedom of expression, and drop all charges against them.
  • Engage meaningfully and concretely with UN human rights bodies by extending a standing invitation to Bahrain to all UN Human Rights Council Special Procedures.
  • Implement the recommendations of all UN human rights mechanisms, such as the treaty bodies and special procedures, in an objectively verifiable manner. And
  • End excessive and arbitrary restrictions on civic space that are not in line with international human rights standards.

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