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Spanish Moves to Pressure Bahrain to Halt Human Rights Violations

Spain has joined other Western capitals, whose politicians are mobilizing and lobbying for their governments to adopt strict measures against the Bahraini authorities. Such moves coincide with the critical human rights situation in Bahraini prisons, especially at Central Jau prison.

In the latest move, prominent Spanish lawmakers raised written questions about the systematic human rights violations in Bahrain.

Member of the Spanish Parliament, María Gloria Ezzo Serrano, submitted a written question about the human rights situation in Bahrain, especially cases of those sentenced to death and human rights defenders detained in Bahrain.

“According to the rules of procedure of the House of Representatives, members are waiting for the government to respond to the questions addressed in written form,” emphasized Serrano

These questions inquire about the situation regarding the violations committed on the human rights situation in the Kingdom of Bahrain, especially the cases of those sentenced to death and human rights defenders.

Spanish politicians noted that the European Union’s External Action Strategy 2021-2024 highlights the promotion of human rights and democracy as one of its main axes.

The deputies documented a number of cases about the violations of the Manama authorities against activists and political detainees.

They indicated that On March 11, 2021, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the human rights situation in Bahrain, especially the cases of death row persons and human rights defenders.

The resolution was adopted by a majority of 633 votes to 11 votes, as all Spanish members of the European Parliament united to vote in favor of this resolution.

“The decision expresses the European Union’s deep concern that ten years after the Arab Spring in Bahrain, the human rights situation in the country continues to deteriorate,” Spanish politicians stressed.

They denounced the application of the death penalty, arbitrary arrests and prosecution, harassment of human rights defenders, and denial of civil and political rights.

In their letter to the Madrid authorities, the deputies stressed the need for an honest response if the government would implement the recommendations of the European Parliament regarding the human rights situation in Bahrain.

They specifically addressed their country’s government as to whether it would explicitly express its concern to its Bahraini counterpart about the conditions of prisoners of conscience, such as the leader of the political opposition Hassan Mushaima and human rights activist Zakia Al-Barbouri.

Furthermore, the document stressed the need for the Spanish government to confirm its intention to take measures to highlight its concerns about human rights violations in Bahrain.

These abuses include violations committed by Major General Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, Minister of Interior, or Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Commander of the Royal Guard.

Spanish lawmakers questioned whether Madrid authorities would review the European Union’s code of conduct on arms exports, as well as the suspension of all sales and transactions of arms, surveillance equipment, intelligence and materiel that Bahrain may use in its pursuit of human rights abuse.

Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain welcomed the step taken by the Spanish representatives. It expressed gratitude to Representative Serrano for her efforts in drawing attention to the ongoing human rights crisis and the plight of human rights defenders and political activists imprisoned in Bahrain.

Recently, there has been an increase in the pace of moves against Bahrain, and pressure from a number of Western governments to put an end to the intransigence of the Bahraini authorities.

Last week, British MPs sent a strongly-worded message to the Foreign Secretary and a number of British government ministers about the recent developments in Bahrain’s Jaw Prison.

The letter indicated that several human rights violations took place at Jau prison against a number of political prisoners.

The message entitled “Torture and enforced disappearance of Bahraini political prisoners” was an expression of the concern of a number of British personalities about the human rights situation in Jau prison.

British MPs called on concerned ministers to move quickly and take urgent measures, such as asking the British government to extend a call to Manama for the immediate disclosure of the conditions and whereabouts of at least 25 forcibly disappeared inmates.

They also called for assurances that all victims receive adequate and timely medical care and have access to their families, and secure the release of CCTV footage of the April 17 police attack.

British politicians stressed the need to internationalize political prisoners’ issue at the level of the United Nations and to allow the UN Special Rapporteur on torture the right to access Jau Prison.

In addition, they called for the release of all Bahraini prisoners of conscience, and the suspension of all aid funded by taxpayers in the United Kingdom through the Gulf Strategy Fund to Bahraini oversight bodies.

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