European Parliament calls for sanctions against Bahrain : a wake-up call to the international community

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(Paris – Brussels, 14 June 2018) Today, European law makers have adopted a Resolution ’on the human rights situation in Bahrain, notably the case of Nabeel Rajab’ which calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Nabeel Rajab and all those detained solely for their peaceful human rights and political activities. A week after the confirmation in appeal of the five year sentence against Nabeel Rajab, the European Parliament has delivered an unequivocal message to whistle the end of a game that has lasted for too long. The Resolution also calls for targeted measures against those responsible for grave human rights violations in the country.

FIDH considers this strong Resolution as a wake-up call to the international community, including the European Union and its Member States. As the general elections foreseen for October 2018 are fast approaching, the authorities have offered none of the minimum guarantees to ensure free and fair elections. On the contrary, the last months have been marked by a further restriction of the space for debate and liberties including through the worse crackdown for years in Duraz, the closure of the only independent newspaper – al Wasat –, the dissolution of opposition political societies al Wefaq and al Wa’ad. Last development to date, the authorities adopted on 11 June an amendment banning most members of political opposition from seeking election.

In the last years the international community seems to have increasingly given up on any serious pressure to ensure that the Bahraini authorities abide by their commitment to implement the recommendations of the BICI (Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry).

The European Parliament has regretted in its Resolution that the EU Delegation’s Chaillot prize for the Promotion of Human Rights in the Gulf Cooperation Council Region was awarded in 2014 to the Bahrain National Institution for Human Rights, which has repeatedly justified the human rights violations undertaken by the Bahrain government, including the imprisonment of Nabeel Rajab.

FIDH calls on the EU Member States and the European External Action Service to give formal response to the European Parliament recommendations through a clarification of their strategy for the advancement of human rights in Bahrain and the Gulf region. In particular, Member States should publicly report on their respect for the human rights criteria in their export of arms and surveillance technology to the region.

Press Contact :

Maryna CHEBAT // +33 6 48 05 91 57 // @MS_Chebat

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