Procedure : 2018/2755(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : RC-B8-0281/2018

Texts tabled :

RC-B8-0281/2018

Debates :

PV 14/06/2018 - 4.2
CRE 14/06/2018 - 4.2

Votes :

PV 14/06/2018 - 7.2

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2018)0260

JOINT MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION
PDF 292kWORD 60k
13.6.2018
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pursuant to Rules 135(5) and 123(4) of the Rules of Procedure

replacing the following motions:

B8‑0281/2018 (Verts/ALE)

B8‑0282/2018 (S&D)

B8‑0283/2018 (EFDD)

B8‑0286/2018 (GUE/NGL)

B8‑0287/2018 (ALDE)


on the human rights situation in Bahrain, notably the case of Nabeel Rajab  (2018/2755(RSP))


Elena Valenciano, Victor Boştinaru, Soraya Post on behalf of the S&D Group
Marietje Schaake, Petras Auštrevičius, Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, Dita Charanzová, Gérard Deprez, Martina Dlabajová, Marian Harkin, Nadja Hirsch, Ivan Jakovčić, Petr Ježek, Ilhan Kyuchyuk, Patricia Lalonde, Valentinas Mazuronis, Louis Michel, Urmas Paet, Maite Pagazaurtundúa Ruiz, Jozo Radoš, Frédérique Ries, Robert Rochefort, Yana Toom, Ramon Tremosa i Balcells, Viktor Uspaskich, Johannes Cornelis van Baalen, Cecilia Wikström on behalf of the ALDE Group
Alyn Smith, Barbara Lochbihler, Bodil Valero, Ernest Urtasun, Ana Miranda, Jordi Solé, Josep-Maria Terricabras on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group
Marie-Christine Vergiat, Patrick Le Hyaric, Barbara Spinelli, Merja Kyllönen, Kateřina Konečná, Miguel Urbán Crespo, Xabier Benito Ziluaga, Tania González Peñas, Lola Sánchez Caldentey, Estefanía Torres Martínez, Dimitrios Papadimoulis, Stelios Kouloglou, Younous Omarjee on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group
Fabio Massimo Castaldo, Ignazio Corrao, Isabella Adinolfi on behalf of the EFDD Group

European Parliament resolution on the human rights situation in Bahrain, notably the case of Nabeel Rajab  (2018/2755(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions of 6 February 2014 on Bahrain, in particular the cases of Nabeel Rajab, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja and Ibrahim Sharif(1), of 9 July 2015 on Bahrain, in particular the case of Nabeel Rajab(2), of 4 February 2016 on Bahrain: the case of Mohammed Ramadan(3), of 7 July 2016 on Bahrain(4), of 16 February 2017 on executions in Kuwait and Bahrain(5), and of 3 October 2017 on addressing shrinking civil society space in developing countries(6),

–  having regard to the statements by the spokesperson of the European External Action Service of 17 June 2015 on the sentencing of Al-Wefaq Secretary-General Ali Salman in Bahrain, of 11 July 2017 on the sentencing of Mr Nabeel Rajab by a Bahraini court and of 6 June 2018 on the sentencing of the Bahraini human rights defender Mr Nabeel Rajab,

–  having regard to the statement of 22 November 2017 by the Chair of its Subcommittee on Human Rights,

–  having regard to the meeting of the EU-Bahrain informal human rights working group of 15 May 2018,

–  having regard to the statement by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein of 11 September 2017 on the situation in Bahrain,

–  having regard to the statement of the UN Committee Against Torture of 12 May 2017,

–  having regard to the Bahraini Constitution adopted in February 2002, notably Chapter 3 thereof, to Article 364 of the Bahraini Penal Code and to the Bahraini Citizenship Act of 1963,

–  having regard to the November 2011 report by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI),

–  having regard to the EU Guidelines on human rights defenders, on human rights dialogues with third countries, on the death penalty, on torture, and on freedom of expression online and offline,

–  having regard to the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Arab Charter on Human Rights, to all of which Bahrain is a party,

–  having regard to the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in particular Article 15 thereof,

–  having regard to Rules 135(5) and 123(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas on 5 June 2018, Bahrain’s High Court of Appeal ruled to uphold the five-year prison sentence against leading human rights defender Nabeel Rajab for ‘disseminating false rumours in time of war’ (Article 133 of the Bahraini Criminal Code), ‘insulting a neighbouring country’ (Article 215) and ‘insulting a statutory body’ (Article 216) in relation to tweets he posted on alleged torture in Bahrain’s Jaw prison and the Saudi Arabia-led coalition air strikes in Yemen; whereas these charges are based on provisions that criminalise the right to freedom of expression, protected under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Bahrain ratified in 2006; whereas Mr Rajab is now expected to pursue a final appeal before Bahrain’s Court of Cassation;

B.  whereas Mr Rajab was due to be released this month after completing a two-year prison sentence, in degrading prison conditions amounting to ill-treatment, for TV interviews he gave in 2015 and 2016 on restrictions of freedom of the press in Bahrain; whereas prior to his arbitrary arrest in June 2016, Nabeel Rajab had been prohibited from travelling and served a two-year prison sentence between 2012 and 2014 in relation to his exercise of the right to freedom of expression and assembly; whereas the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention ruled in 2013 that he had been arbitrarily detained for his role in helping to lead and organise demonstrations in Bahrain; whereas he has been subjected to unjust trial processes;

C.  whereas in addition to this new five-year sentence, Nabeel Rajab could face further prison time for up to 14 other outstanding cases the government reportedly maintains against him, including additional charges of ‘spreading false news and statements and malicious rumours that undermine the prestige of the state’; whereas, furthermore, on 12 September 2017, the government accused him of ‘spreading false news’, ‘inciting hatred against the regime’ and ‘inciting non-compliance with the law’ over social media;

D.  whereas Mr Rajab has suffered as a result of poor prison conditions, which have severely affected his physical health; whereas his family have also reported that he is confined to his cell for 23 hours every day as a form of punishment, causing his health to seriously deteriorate over time; whereas the prison administration reportedly appeared to be interfering with Mr Rajab’s medical treatment on purpose;

E.  whereas the case of Nabeel Rajab has become a symbol for human rights defenders and respect of freedom of expression in Bahrain, and his case runs counter to the Government of Bahrain’s own commitments; whereas he is just one of a number of individuals to be subjected to arbitrary detention and prosecution for exercising freedom of expression and assembly;

F.  whereas in May 2017 the UN Committee against Torture addressed the numerous and consistent allegations of widespread torture and ill-treatment of persons deprived of liberty, in particular of those arrested under terrorism charges, and expressed its deep concern regarding the cases of Nabeel Rajab, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, Naji Fateel, Hussain Jawad, Abdulwahab Hussain and Abduljalil al-Singace;

G.  whereas there has been a significant increase in executions and death sentencing following the breaking of a seven-year moratorium in February 2017, amid continued allegations of torture and ill-treatment; whereas Bahrain has resumed the trial of civilians before military courts, following a constitutional amendment adopted in April 2017; whereas the authorities restored arrest and investigation powers to the National Security Agency, despite its record of torture and abuse;

H.  whereas the situation in Bahrain has become critical as regards freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly; whereas the increased crackdown on human rights defenders and peaceful opposition activists includes prison sentences, exile, travel bans, revocation of citizenships or severe threats and intimidation as a result of their peaceful work;

I.  whereas the Council of Representatives and the Shura Council of Bahrain have approved an amendment to the Law on the Exercise of Political Rights that will prevent independent political participation in the 2018 elections;

J.  whereas in 2016 the largest Bahraini political opposition society, Al-Wefaq, was suspended, and had its assets frozen and website blocked within Bahrain, by the Bahraini regime; whereas the group’s headquarters were raided, leading to the group being charged with ‘chronic disregard for the Kingdom’s constitution and contest of its legitimacy’ and ‘calls for foreign interference’, as well as ‘promotion of violence and support to terrorist organisations’;

K.  whereas on 31 May 2017, a Bahraini court ordered the dissolution of Bahrain’s opposition group the National Democratic Action Society (Waad); whereas on 26 October 2017, the High Appeal Court of Bahrain upheld the appeal court ruling to dissolve Waad;

L.  whereas on 15 May 2018 Bahrain’s High Criminal Court revoked the citizenship of 115 people amid reports of torture and due process abuses in an unfair mass trial; whereas the threat of or the actual revocation of citizenship is being used as a means of political repression; whereas numerous individuals in Bahrain, mainly from the Shia segment of the population, have had their citizenship revoked, including children, in direct violation of Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 7 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child;

M.  whereas a number of internal bodies have been set up, since the 2011 protests and following the conclusions of the BICI report, to monitor governmental abuses, but are not effective and independent enough; whereas the lack of independence of these bodies reportedly causes a lack of accountability within the Bahraini Government and security forces; whereas this has fostered a culture of impunity that undermines democratic reform attempts and serves to further destabilise the country;

N.  whereas the EU considers close cooperation with civil society and human rights defenders (HRDs) in third countries to be one of its main priorities in advancing human rights and tackling human rights violations;

1.  Calls for the immediate release of all those detained solely for their peaceful human rights and political activities; calls for an end to all acts of violence, harassment, intimidation, including at judicial level, and censorship of human rights defenders, political opponents, protesters, civil society actors and their relatives within and outside the country by the state authorities, security forces and services; condemns the ongoing crackdown on fundamental democratic rights, notably freedom of expression, association and assembly, political pluralism, peaceful dissent and the rule of law in Bahrain;

2.  Calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Mr Rajab, for any remaining charges against him to be dropped, and for the authorities to ensure that, pending his release, he is not subjected to torture or other ill-treatment and has regular access to his family, lawyers of his choice and adequate healthcare; condemns the detention of Nabeel Rajab, which violates, among other things, his right to freedom of expression and his freedom of movement;

3.  Calls on the Bahraini authorities to abide by their international obligations and commitments to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms and ensure a safe and enabling environment for human rights defenders and critics of the authorities, including in the context of the 2018 elections, in which the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly are guaranteed; reminds the Bahraini Government of its responsibility to ensure the security and safety of all citizens irrespective of their political views, affiliation or confession;

4.  Deplores the poor prison conditions in the country and the use of torture by Bahraini security and prison personnel; urges the Bahraini authorities to refrain from all torture, cruel and degrading treatment of detainees, to investigate fully all allegations of violation of basic rights of prisoners and torture and to bring the perpetrators to justice;

5.  Reminds the Bahraini authorities that Article 15 of the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment prohibits the use of any statement made as a result of torture as evidence in any proceedings; calls for the immediate ratification by Bahrain of the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture;

6.  Strongly condemns the high number of death sentences passed in the country and calls for an official moratorium on all executions; calls for a review of all death sentences to ensure that the trials in question adhered to international standards;

7.  Calls on the authorities to amend the constitution to put an end to the use of military trials to try civilians;

8.  Condemns the mass stripping of citizenship that is being used as a means of reprisal and urges the Bahraini authorities to overturn the decision and abide by international obligations and norms;

9.  Calls on the Bahraini authorities to immediately lift the travel ban against human rights defenders and insists that the authorities guarantee in all circumstances that human rights defenders in Bahrain are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities, nationally and internationally, without hindrance, intimidation or harassment;

10.  Encourages the Government of Bahrain to aim for stability through reforms and inclusive reconciliation in an environment in which legitimate and peaceful political grievances can be expressed freely, especially in light of the upcoming elections to the Council of Representatives scheduled for October 2018; condemns, in this respect, the attacks on opposition voices and civil society in Bahrain, including the suspension of opposition society Al-Wefaq, the dissolution of the opposition group Waad and the banning of the members of these dissolved groups from participating in the forthcoming elections; considers these actions to be contrary to the principles of democratic pluralism and free and fair elections, and in contradiction of international agreements and the constitution of Bahrain; calls on all parties to engage in a genuine national dialogue in order to relaunch a peaceful and meaningful national reconciliation process;

11.  Calls on the Vice‑President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the European External Action Service, the Council and the Member States to systematically raise the concerns about the violation of human rights in Bahrain and to consider the introduction of targeted measures against those responsible for grave human rights violations;

12.  Urges the EU and its Member States to continue to make reference to Bahrain in the EU and Member States’ statements under item 4 in the upcoming sessions of the UN Human Rights Council;

13.  Calls on the Government of Bahrain to cooperate with the UN Special Rapporteurs (notably on torture, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion and belief, independence of judges and lawyers, and human rights defenders) and to issue a standing invitation in their favour; urges the Bahraini authorities to allow international NGOs and journalists freedom of access to Bahrain, including for the purposes of making contact with detained human rights defenders;

14.  Regrets the fact that surveillance technologies are being exported by European companies to Bahrain, and emphasises the need for the EU export control authorities to take human rights criteria into account before granting an export licence to a third country; calls on all EU Member States to strictly observe the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports, and in particular to halt all transfers of weapons, surveillance and intelligence equipment and material that can be used by Bahrain in its ongoing crackdown on human rights;

15.  Regrets the reiterated refusal of Bahrain to receive an official delegation of its Subcommittee on Human Rights; calls on the Bahraini authorities to allow an official delegation of Members of the European Parliament to visit the country on mission, with the aim of meeting with public authorities and civil society representatives;

16.  Regrets the fact 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 Bahraini Government, including the imprisonment of Nabeel Rajab;

17.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice‑President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Government and Parliament of the Kingdom of Bahrain and the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council; calls for this resolution to be translated into Arabic.

 

(1)

OJ C 93, 24.3.2017, p. 154.

(2)

OJ C 265, 11.8.2017, p. 151.

(3)

OJ C 35, 31.1.2018, p. 42.

(4)

OJ C 101, 16.3.2018, p. 130.

(5)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0044.

(6)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0365.

Last updated: 13 June 2018Legal notice