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Parliamentary questions
23 June 2011
Answer given by High Representative/Vice‑President Ashton on behalf of the Commission

The High Representative/Vice‑President is deeply concerned about the situation in Bahrain. She has made her concerns known to the Bahraini Foreign Minister and King of Bahrain, as well as at the 20 April 2011 EU‑GCC Ministerial meeting. The Joint Communiqué issued at the end of that Ministerial meeting includes a specific paragraph on human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The High Representative/Vice‑President has also expressed her deep concern in public statements, including on the risk of execution of four Bahraini nationals, and has called for the full investigation of all alleged human rights violations committed during the past months as well as the immediate release of all political prisoners.

The EU Foreign Affairs Council has also expressed concerns about the lack of progress of the national dialogue, and recalled Bahrain’s duty to fully respect human rights and fundamental freedoms of all persons.

A constructive and inclusive national dialogue leading to real reforms must start as the only viable solution to the political crisis in the country and so that human rights and fundamental freedoms of all persons, without discrimination, can be guaranteed.

As regards the region in general, the EU has consistently called for dialogue and condemned violence. The EU has been encouraging regimes to listen to grievances expressed by the people and to undertake necessary reforms. Such reforms can never be imposed from the outside, but the EU stands ready to extend support as and when requested. In that context, EU has also consistently been condemning all violations of human rights and has been calling for full respect of the people’s human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression and assembly.

Restrictive measures against individuals or entities responsible for human rights violations is one of several tools that the EU can envisage in the case of very grave situations. Such measures, to be agreed upon by EU Member States in the Council, are generally adopted as a last resort, when all other means fail to yield the desired results. The EU’s approach for the time being remains the frank and intensive dialogue currently taking place with the Bahraini authorities, which hopefully can still contribute to the improvement of the situation in the country in the near future.

OJ C 314 E, 27/10/2011
Last updated: 11 July 2011Legal notice