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Procedure : 2016/2808(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0907/2016

Texts tabled :

B8-0907/2016

Debates :

PV 07/07/2016 - 7.2
CRE 07/07/2016 - 7.2

Votes :

PV 07/07/2016 - 9.2

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2016)0315

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION
PDF 381kWORD 76k
See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0900/2016
5.7.2016
PE585.348v01-00
 
B8-0907/2016

with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law

pursuant to Rule 135 of the Rules of Procedure


on Bahrain (2016/2808(RSP))


Marietje Schaake, Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, Ilhan Kyuchyuk, Filiz Hyusmenova, Javier Nart, Valentinas Mazuronis, Nedzhmi Ali, Petras Auštrevičius, Marielle de Sarnez, Gérard Deprez, Martina Dlabajová, José Inácio Faria, María Teresa Giménez Barbat, Nathalie Griesbeck, Antanas Guoga, Marian Harkin, Ivan Jakovčić, Petr Ježek, Louis Michel, Urmas Paet, Maite Pagazaurtundúa Ruiz, Carolina Punset, Robert Rochefort, Jasenko Selimovic, Hannu Takkula, Pavel Telička, Ramon Tremosa i Balcells, Johannes Cornelis van Baalen, Hilde Vautmans, Paavo Väyrynen on behalf of the ALDE Group
NB: This motion for a resolution is available in the original language only.

European Parliament resolution on Bahrain (2016/2808(RSP))  
B8‑0907/2016

The European Parliament,

– having regard to its previous resolutions on Bahrain, notably those of 9 July 2015 on the case of Nabeel Rajab and of 3 February 2016 on the case of Mohammed Ramadan,

 

– having regard to the EU Guidelines on the Death Penalty, on Torture, on Freedom of Expression and on Human Rights Defenders,

 

–  having regard to the statement of 30 May 2016 by the Spokesperson of Vice-President/High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini on the sentencing of al-Wefaq Secretary General Ali Salman in Bahrain,

 

– having regard to the statement by the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, on the sentencing of opposition leader Sheikh Ali al-Salman on 1 June, the statement by the spokesperson of the UN Secretary General on 16 June and the statement by the spokesperson of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on 21 June 2016, both on Bahrain,

 

–  having regard to the new EU Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights, which aims to place the protection and surveillance of human rights at the heart of all EU policies,

 

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

 

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

 

– 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, particularly Article 15,

 

– having regard to Rule 135 of its Rules of Procedure,

 

A. whereas freedom of expression and freedom of assembly are indispensable pillars of a democratic and pluralistic society; whereas the Bahraini Constitution adopted in 2002 enshrines fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression and assembly;

 

B. whereas human rights defenders are systematically persecuted in Bahrain by public authorities; whereas on 13 June 2016 the prominent Human Rights defender Nabeel Rajab was re-arrested and put in isolated detention under degrading conditions amounting to ill-treatment for “spreading false news and rumours about the internal situation in a bid to discredit Bahrain”; whereas on 28 June he was taken to the Bahraini Defence Force hospital after suffering unprecedented heart problems; whereas prior to his latest arrest, Nabeel Rajab had been subject to a travel ban;

 

C. whereas the travel ban imposed on Abdulnabi Al-Ekry, a well-known human rights defender and political writer in Bahrain, on 18 June 2016 is the latest imposition in a series of travel ban orders that have recently been used to curtail the activities of human rights defenders in Bahrain; whereas on 12 June 2016, as the UNHRC convened, Bahraini security forces prevented three human rights defenders, Mr Hussain Radhi, Ms Ebtisam Al-Saegh and Mr Ibrahim Al-Demistani from travelling to Geneva from Bahrain International Airport to attend the UNHRC and to participate in a side event on the situation of human rights in Bahrain;

 

D. whereas on 16 June 2016 the largest Bahraini political opposition society Al-Wefaq was suspended, its assets frozen and the 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”; whereas the suspension is the latest of a series of actions of political repression that undermines the democratic legitimacy of the current government;

 

E. whereas the right to a fair trial and due process are regularly ignored by Bahraini authorities; whereas Sheikh Ali Salman, the head of the Al-Wefaq opposition group, has been imprisoned since July 2015 without fair trial, his sentence even being extended on appeal in May 2016 from four years to nine; whereas the lack of protection for an accused’s rights is in direct violation of the Bahrain’s national Constitution and of international law; whereas in September 2015 the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention had concluded that his detention was arbitrary;

 

F. whereas the Shi’ite minority has been suffering in particular by the augmented persecution of religious leaders in recent years; whereas the Ministry of Social Development closed two religious groups, Al Risala Islamic Society and the Islamic Enlightenment Society (Al-Tawerya), and blocked internet access to its website in Bahrain;

 

G. whereas subsequently to the 2014 amendment of Bahrain’s citizenship law, the Bahraini government stripped 33 individuals of their citizenship in June 2016, bringing the total number, which includes some children, to 309 since 2012; whereas those stripped of citizenship include doctors, politicians and human rights activists, many of whom were not told the specific reasons for the decision; whereas on 20 June 2016 Sheikh Issa Qassim, the top Shi’ite religious figure in Bahrain had his citizenship arbitrarily revoked, sparking continuous protests across the country and stirring up sectarian tensions; whereas such actions by Bahraini authorities violates Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 7 of the Convention of the Rights of the Child;

 

H. whereas a number of internal bodies has been set up since the 2011 protests and following the conclusions of the BICI report to monitor governmental abuses, which however are largely ineffectual and believed to be reporting directly to the governmental branches they are supposed to be monitoring; whereas the lack of independence of these bodies reportedly causes a lack of accountability within governmental branches and security forces, which fosters a culture of impunity that undermines any attempts of democratic reform;

 

I. whereas despite the establishment of a task force in 2011 to monitor conditions inside Bahraini prisons, torture and ill-treatment are still allegedly common-place;

 

J. whereas the death sentences handed down to Mohammed Ramadan and Husain Moosa, for allegedly taking part in a bombing in Al Dair on 14 February 2014 that killed a security officer and wounded several others, were upheld by the Court of Cassation, Bahrain’s highest court of appeal, on 16 November 2015, despite the men having retracted their confessions and reiterating that they had confessed under torture; whereas Mr Ramadan is just one of 10 individuals on death row in Bahrain and the first to be sentenced to death since 2011 after having exhausted all legal avenues of appeal, and stands at risk of imminent execution;

 

K. whereas Bahrain still has provisional bans on the freedom of assembly, banning protests from taking place in the capital city; whereas protests organized outside the city are often dispersed by government forces using violence;

 

1. Condemns the on-going restrictions of fundamental democratic rights, notably the freedom of expression, association and assembly, political pluralism and rule of law in Bahrain; calls for an end to all acts of violence, harassment, intimidation, including at judicial level, or censorship against human rights defenders, political opponents, protesters, civil society actors and minorities by state authorities, security forces and services.

 

2. Calls on the Bahraini authorities to unconditionally release Nabeel Rajab and other human rights activists targeted solely for their human rights activities and sent to prison for merely peacefully exercising their right to freedom of speech and expression; calls on the authorities to guarantee their physical and psychological integrity.

 

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

 

4. Reminds the Bahraini government of its responsibility to ensure the security and safety of all citizens irrespective of their political views, affiliation or confession; insists that only building a truly pluralistic society, respectful of the diversity of views and lifestyles, can ensure a long-term stability and security in Bahrain and, in that regard, calls for the release of Sheikh Ali Salman and other Shi’ite clerics currently being held arbitrarily in Bahraini prisons.

 

5. Expresses its concern about the suspension of Al-Wefaq and considers it contrary to the principles of democratic pluralism; calls on the government to withdraw the sanctions against the organisation.

 

6. Stresses that current actions against the opposition undermine the reforms undertaken in Bahrain and hinder the prospects of an inclusive national dialogue in the interests of all Bahraini citizens.

 

7. Calls on the Bahraini authorities to ensure the full implementation of the 2002 Constitution and to respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms guaranteed therein as well as the international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Bahrain; in particular calls on the effective implementation of the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, the Universal Periodic Review and the national human rights institution in order to allow for an improvement of the human rights situation.

 

8. Strongly recommends that Bahrain amends its citizenship law and restores Bahraini citizenship for those individuals who were unfairly stripped of it so as to fall within international standards and international law on the matter.

 

9. Recommends the institution of an international body of independent experts to undertake a prompt and impartial investigation into all allegations of torture and to communicate their findings to the appropriate Bahraini authorities so they can prosecute suspected perpetrators of torture; 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 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture.

 

10. Reminds that judicial reform is crucial for establishing a genuine separation of powers, and the prohibition of an unwarranted interference of the executive in judicial matters.

 

11. Expresses its concern over Bahrain’s return to the practice of capital punishment and calls for the reintroduction of the moratorium on the death penalty as a first step towards its abolition.

 

12. Urges the HR/VP to continue to raise the concerns about attacks against freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly in Bahrain; strongly encourages the establishment of an EU-Bahrain human rights working group, but notes that an EU-Bahrain human rights dialogue cannot replace a thorough dialogue between government and opposition in Bahrain itself.

 

13. Encourages the Government of Bahrain to cooperate with the UN special rapporteurs (notably on torture, freedom of assembly, independence of judges and lawyers, and human rights defenders) and issue a standing invitation in their favour.

 

14. 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.

 

Last updated: 5 July 2016Legal notice