with request for inclusion in the agenda for the debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law
pursuant to Rule 122 of the Rules of Procedure
on Human rights violations in Bahrain
Marietje Schaake, Ramon Tremosa i Balcells, Graham Watson, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, Robert Rochefort, Alexandra Thein, Kristiina Ojuland, Nadja Hirsch, Marielle de Sarnez, Edward McMillan-Scott, Sarah Ludford, Leonidas Donskis, Johannes Cornelis van Baalen, Sonia Alfano, Izaskun Bilbao Barandica
on behalf of the ALDE Group
NB: This motion for a resolution is available in the original language only.
European Parliament resolution on Human rights violations in Bahrain
The European Parliament,
– having regard to its previous resolutions on the situation in Syria, Yemen and Bahrain in the context of the situation in the Arab World and North Africa on 7 July 2011, and of 27 October 2011 on Bahrain,
– having regard to its resolution of 24 March 2011 on European Union relations with the Gulf Cooperation Council,
–having regard to the statements by its President of 12 April 2011 on the death of two Bahraini civil activists and of 28 April 2011 condemning the death sentences lodged against four Bahraini for participating in peaceful pro-democracy protests,
–having regard to the statements by the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative (VP/HR) on Bahrain of 2011 and in particular of 24 November 2011 on the publication of the report of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, the Statement by the spokesperson of High Representative Catherine Ashton on the anniversary of the unrest in Bahrain on 13 February 2012,
–having regard to the Council conclusions on Bahrain of 21 March, 12 April and 23 May 2011,
– having regard to the statement of 23 June and 30 September 2011 by the UN Secretary-General on the lengthy sentences imposed on 21 Bahraini political activists, human rights defenders and opposition leaders, in some cases for life in prison,and the Statement by the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on Bahrain on 15 February 2012,
– having regard to the statement on Bahrain by 66th UN General Assembly on 29 September 2011,
–having regard to the statement by the Bahraini Public Prosecutor regarding the retrial of doctors previously prosecuted in military trials on 23 October 2011,
– having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966, the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and the Arab Charter on Human Rights to all of which Bahrain is a party,
-having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948,
– having regard to Rule 122 of its Rules of Procedure,
A. whereas 14 February 2012 marked the first anniversary of the peaceful popular movement calling for reforms, freedom and the ensurance of basic human rights; whereas nationwide protests were organized to commemorate the pro-democracy uprising; whereas government authorities have made arrests and prevented peaceful protestors from gathering; whereas government forces violently cracked down on protestors; whereas tear gas, stun grenades and birdshots were used in residential areas and the policy reportedly broke into several houses
B. whereas according to human rights organizations excessive use of force and tear gas against citizens, mourner marches and funeral processions have lead to several deaths and miscarriages, even after the inquiry report by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) was released on 23 November 2011;
C. whereas protests, small or large, continue to be violently repressed; whereas persecution, detention and torture against human rights defenders and bloggers who took part in the peaceful pro-democracy protests continue;
D. whereas human rights activists and bloggers Zainab Al Khawaja and Naji Fateel have been released, without any indication that the latest charges against them have been dropped;
E. whereas criminal courts are still considering the cases against Bahraini medics who provided medical treatment to injured people indiscriminately; whereas new cases of reprisal against medical staff have been reported;
F. whereas since early 2012 the Bahraini authorities have denied human rights NGOs and journalists access to the country, remarking they should delay their visits to after 22 February 2012, on which datethe National Committee was supposed to issue its conclusions; whereas the Bahraini Human Rights and Social Development Ministry announced new rules that limit NGOs to single five-day trips, to be arranged via the sponsorship of that ministry and not to coincide with any weekend day;
G. whereas according to the conclusions of the BICI report of 23 November 2011 security forces systematically used torture, excessive force and legal shortcomings that led to at least 35 people killed since the pro-democracy protests started in February 2011 and over 3000 people have been arrested since February 2011; whereas according to human rights organizations over 100 citizens have been arbitrarily detained over the last two months; whereas detention conditions in Bahraini prisoners are reportedly very troubling, including torture practices outside of detention facilities, and are worsening;
H. whereas lawyers of detainees are faced with judicial and administrative harassment and intimidation, undermining the exercise of their legal profession; whereas the Ministry of Human Rights on 30 November of 2011 has dissolved the Board of Directors of the Bahraini Bar Association;
I. whereas King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa formed a National Committee to study the recommendations of the BICI's report; whereas on 1 January 2012 the head of the National Committee Saleh Al Saleh resigned after attacks against his integrity and credibility; whereas the National Committee is scheduled to release its conclusions on 20 March 2012 covering the management of the police- judiciary-, education- and media departments, the payment of compensations to torture victims and the establishment of an independent ombudsman who will conduct investigations into allegations of human rights violations made against the police;
J. whereas the UN special rapporteur on torture, Juan Mendez, was supposed to visit Bahrain from 8 to 17 March 2012 but has been officially asked by the Bahraini authorities to delay his trip to after July 2012;
L. whereas according to the BICI's report the special military courts convicted 300 defendants for so-called "political crimes"; whereas the Bahraini public prosecutor office conceded over 340 defendants were convicted of crimes related to their right to free expression;
M.whereas according to Bahraini trade unions more than 1000 Bahraini employees who were dismissed from their positions for participating in the pro-democracy protests have still not been reinstated;whereas many of those reinstated have been pressured to sign statements in which they pledge to refrain from any trade union related activities and approve being appointed in other positions then their original ones.
N.whereas the Bahraini government has pledged to transfer all prosecutions, trials and appeals related to citizens who have participated in the peaceful pro-democracy protests to civilian courts; whereas no related charges have been dropped;
O. whereas Reporters Without Borders based on the events of the past year, identified Bahrain as ´enemy of the internet´
1. Condemns theongoing violation of human rights in Bahrain and urges the Bahraini authorities to conduct thorough, impartial and independent investigations into the human rights violations by police, security forces and the military presence in Bahrain during and after the pro-democracy protests against peaceful protestors and citizens, to ensure accountability and prevent impunity for those responsible, regardless of position or rank and to adopt measures and reforms to deter future human rights violations;
2. Calls on the Bahraini security forces and authorities to stop the excessive use of violence, including excessive the use of tear gas, repression, acts of torture, unlawful detention and prosecution of peaceful protestors and to show utmost restraint when attempting to control protests; urges the Bahraini authorities to act in strict compliance with Bahraini law and international legal obligations; Reiterates its view that peaceful demonstrators have expressed their legitimate democratic aspirations and calls on the Bahraini government to make all the announced necessary reforms, to encourage national reconciliation and restore social consensus in the country.
3. Calls on the Bahraini authorities to withdraw all charges and drop all convictions lodged since February 2011 in the National Safety Courts or civilian courts against citizens for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly, and all convictions exclusively based on confessions.
4. Reiterates its demand of the immediate and unconditional release of all peaceful demonstrators, political activists, human rights defenders, doctors and paramedics, bloggers and journalists who have been detained or convicted for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly or performing their professional obligations.
5. Welcomes BICI's recommendations and calls on the Bahraini government to take all the necessary steps to fully and swiftly implement its recommendations in order to address the most important issues; to end impunity, improve human rights protection and implement major reforms; calls on the Ministry for Human Rights and Social Development to act in accordance with international human rights standards and obligations; reiterates its full support for the Bahraini people's aspirations to secure full respect for democracy, the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms and a striving for better social conditions.
6. Calls on the HR/VP to hold the Bahraini government to its promises to respect human rights, implement the necessary reforms and to start independent investigations into human rights violations and ensure accountability for those responsible, as well as to urge the Bahraini government to drop all charges against doctors and medical staff and to all those being detained for participating in the peaceful pro-democracy protests,.
7. Calls on the Bahraini authorities to restore and respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression, both online and offline, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, women's rights and gender equality, fight against discrimination, and to immediately end all restrictions on access to information and communication technologies; calls on the Bahraini authorities to lift all entry restrictions for foreign journalists and international human rights organizations and to allow for monitoring of the announced independent investigations into human rights violations and the implementation of the announced reforms.
8. Welcomes the suspensionby the United States of the export of weapons, arms and other tools which can be used for the violent repression of citizens and for human rights violations. Calls on the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Sweden and other countries to suspend all military and security-related sales and assistance, including surveillance technologies to Bahrain until the Bahraini government seriously and credibly implements reforms, respects human rights and fundamental freedoms and holds accountable those responsible for human rights violations;
9. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, and 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.