Bahrain: NPWJ strongly welcomes European Parliament’s call against impunity for human rights violations

11 Mar, 2021 | Press Releases

Brussels-Rome, 11 March 2021

No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) strongly welcomes the approval by an overwhelming majority of the European Parliament – 633 votes for, 11 against and 45 abstentions – of a resolution condemning in the strongest terms the human rights situation in the Kingdom of Bahrain. As highlighted by the EP’s resolution, ten years after the Bahraini “Arab Spring” uprising was crushed by local authorities supported by military assistance from Saudi Arabia, the Bahraini authorities continue unabated to criminalise free speech and silence any peaceful dissent, including by targeting children, despite their hollow promises for political reform. This systematic crackdown, ranging from the application of the death penalty to arbitrary arrests and prosecution, torture, intimidation, travel bans and revocation of citizenship, leads to a brutal denial of civil and political rights and freedoms of association, assembly, and expression in the country. 

NPWJ joins the EP’s unequivocal call urging the Bahraini authorities: to stop their repressive and retaliatory practices against human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists and political activists, both inside and outside the country; to guarantee a safe and free space for civil society organisations, independent media and political societies to operate in Bahrain, including those that had been dissolved; to ensure the immediate and unconditional release of all human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience, detained and sentenced for merely expressing their opinions, and to drop all charges against them; to halt the use of the death penalty and ensure that judicial procedures fully comply with international fair trial standards; and to allow for thorough and credible investigations into allegations of torture and other cruel, degrading treatments against detainees, with a view to holding those responsible accountable.

So far, the international community has been weak and unresponsive. Rather than continuing to turn a blind eye, the international community should take the opportunity of the recent appointment of the likely reform-minded Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa as new Prime Minister to press for a real and inclusive political dialogue that could foster democratic reform and national reconciliation.

NPWJ urges the EU and its Member States to act strongly upon the European Parliament recommendations and take immediate concrete steps to ensure that the Bahraini regime abides by its obligations under international human rights laws. They should ensure that the EU-Bahrain human rights dialogue is geared around concrete results and commitments and is no substitute for a thorough dialogue between government, opposition and civil society in Bahrain itself; considering the introduction of targeted measures (under the recently established EU Global sanctions regime) against those responsible for grave human rights violations in Bahrain as well as halting all transfers of weapons, surveillance and intelligence equipment that can be used against human rights defenders.