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Human rights violations

Parliamentary questioning in France against human rights violations in Bahrain

French Member of Parliament Xavier Baluzkevich questioned Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian about Paris’ position on the continued violation of fundamental freedoms in Bahrain.

This parliamentarian who represents the Republic on the Move party, founded by the current French President Emmanuel Macron, has sparked a political storm in France, exposing the falseness of the allegations made by some parties that it is a champion of republican values.

In his question to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Baluzkevich drew attention to the increasing frequency of arrests of political figures by the Bahraini authorities since February 2011.

He explicitly referred to Hassan Mushaima, the political opposition leader in Bahrain, and Dr Abdul-Jalil Al-Singace, the activist and human rights defender.

The French MP expressed his concern about violating their fundamental freedoms, especially given their rapidly deteriorating health conditions.

Hassan Mushaima was recently transferred to hospital after a rapid deterioration in his health after the authorities repeatedly failed to provide him with adequate health care in prison. He remains deprived of essential medicines and treatment, causing him to suffer irreversible effects on his health.

Moreover, Dr Abdul-Jalil Al-Singace has been on hunger strike since 8 July 2021, protesting his mistreatment in prison and the confiscation of his writings that he spent four years working on.

Although he has entered his seventh week of hunger strike, the authorities continue to deprive him of his fundamental freedoms and ignore his demands that his human rights be respected.

The negligent medical care of Hassan Mushaima and Dr Abduljalil Al-Singace is another example of Bahrain’s persecution of human rights defenders and opposition leaders, as well as Bahrain’s appalling treatment of prisoners of conscience more broadly.

The concerns raised by the French politician and opened the eyes of a number of activists in Paris come along with recent observations made by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and other major human rights groups, which alerted the international community to the dire human rights situation inside Bahrain.

As a result, the French representative asked the Minister of Foreign Affairs to disclose Paris’ position regarding Bahrain’s failure to comply with international obligations and inform him of potential diplomatic measures to address the massive human rights violations being committed.

The questions posed by the representative of the French Parliament came just three weeks after his colleague, Guadeloupe MP Justine Benin, questioned the Minister of Foreign Affairs about his commitment to ensuring respect for human dignity and political freedoms in Bahrain.

It also drew attention to Hassan Mushaima and Dr Abdul Jalil Al-Singace, as examples of the systematic repression practised by Bahrain against all opposition figures.

The French government has been called out repeatedly for inaction regarding human rights violations in Bahrain, with MPs now beginning to pressure the government to be more vocal in their position on the kingdom.

This signifies a significant shift between French politicians, who have become increasingly concerned about Bahrain’s failure to abide by its international obligations, and persistent reports of human rights abuses originating from within the country.

Bahrain’s continued attacks on freedom of expression have been a cause for concern to the international community. The government shows a particular disregard for this right in the civil and political spheres.

Bahraini security forces regularly continued to arrest and mistreat government critics, journalists, activists, and religious leaders subject them to police brutality, long prison terms, and arbitrarily revoke citizenship.

As a result, the government currently holds approximately 4,000 political prisoners and continues to imprison individuals on charges relating solely to freedom of expression, assembly, and association.

Despite numerous international observations, recommendations of the Universal Periodic Review, and requests by special rapporteurs to visit the country, the Kingdom of Bahrain continues to portray a blatant indifference to the human rights of its people.

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