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Human rights violationsNews

Irish Foreign Minister: Human Rights Situation in Bahrain Remains of Grave Concern

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney expressed his country’s grave concern about the continuing human rights violations in Bahrain, particularly against political prisoners.

Coveney said that “the human rights situation in Bahrain remains a source of grave concern” and that “Ireland is concerned about the continuing cases of violations of fundamental freedoms, including violations of freedom of opinion and expression, as well as the targeting of human rights defenders”.

Minister Coveni’s comments came in response to questions asked by five representatives in the Irish Parliament regarding the deteriorating human rights situation in Jau Prison in Manama.

Five parliamentarians submitted strongly worded questions to Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney regarding efforts by Dublin to lead a joint statement at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) during the upcoming 80th meeting of the standing committee.

Meanwhile, four members of the Irish Senate reportedly brought up violations committed by Bahraini authorities in Jaw prison with Coveney through direct correspondence.

Senators asked Minister Covigny whether Ireland would lead a joint statement at the United Nations Human Rights Council during the upcoming 80th meeting of the standing committee.

Furthermore, representatives cautioned that COVID- 19 and prison overcrowding are generally a serious threat to the health and well-being of prisoners.

They also called for condemning the abuse of Bahraini prisoners of conscience, who are subjected to abuse by the prison authorities daily and called for their unconditional release.

On Friday, the United Nations called on the government of Bahrain to provide information about the situation of 33 political prisoners currently being held incommunicado in one of the largest prisons in the Gulf Kingdom.

This came in a press briefing on Bahrain presented by the official spokeswoman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Marta Hurtado.

Hurtado called on the Bahraini authorities to immediately launch a thorough and effective investigation into the violent crackdown on the sit-in organized by prisoners in Jau Central Prison on April 17.

Hurtado expressed her distress over the use of unnecessary and disproportionate force by special police forces to suppress this notorious prison sit-in nationwide.

Meanwhile, European lawmakers continue to press the King of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa, over the ongoing violations of political prisoners.

Twelve members of the European Parliament sent a letter to the King of Bahrain expressing their deep concern over the government’s management of the current outbreak of COVID-19 in prisons, notably in Jau Prison.

The letter was signed by members of the European Parliament from different European political parties and an independent member of Parliament.

On March 11, the European Parliament adopted a draft resolution condemning human rights violations in Bahrain after an overwhelming majority voted.

633 deputies out of 689 supported the draft resolution condemning the increase in the use of the death penalty, the continued use of torture against detainees, and the persecution of human rights defenders in Bahrain.

According to the letter, MPs expressed concern over the prolonged poor conditions in Jaw Prison and other facilities.

They criticized the lack of transparency regarding the health of prisoners amid detailed reports published by human rights organizations documenting the spread of COVID-19 in prisons.

The European members urged the Bahraini to adopt an approach to public health informed by international human rights standards rather than a punitive approach against prisoners convicted after unfair trials.

MPs also referred to their complaint about the death of prisoner of conscience Abbas MalAllah, after authorities prevented him from receiving medical treatment over the years.

50-year-old MalAllah died in Jau Prison on April 6, despite repeated calls from his family for his release. Before his death, his health deteriorated after being shot by a security officer during the 2011 uprising.

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