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MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on Human Rights situation in Bahrain

15.1.2013 - (2013/2513(RSP))

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 122 of the Rules of Procedure

Barbara Lochbihler, Margrete Auken, Rui Tavares, Raül Romeva i Rueda on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0029/2013

Eljárás : 2013/2513(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on Human Rights situation in Bahrain


The European Parliament,

- having regard to its previous resolutions of 27 October 2011 on Bahrain, and of 15 March 2012 on human rights violation in Bahrain,

- having regard to the Hearing on Bahrain in the European Parliament Human Rights Subcommittee on 3 October 2011,

- having regard to the statements by the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative (VP/HR) on Bahrain in particular of 10 January on the final appeal court's verdict of 7 January against opposition activists in Bahrain, 24 November 2011 on the publication of the report of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), on the decision of the Bahraini Court of Appeal on the cases of Mr. Abdulah al-Khawaja and nineteen other individuals on 5 September 2012, and of 23 November 2012 on the first anniversary of the publication of the report of the BICI; the Statements by its spokesperson on the anniversary of the unrest in Bahrain on 13 February 2012, on the situation of Mr. Abdulhadi al-Khawaja in Bahrain on 10 April 2012, on the sentencing of Mr. Nabeel Rajab in Bahrain on 16 August 2012, on the recent violence in Bahrain on 24 October 2012 and on 7 November 2012 ; and the statements by the HR/VP on the situation in Egypt, Syria, Yemen and Bahrain at the European Parliament on 12 October 2011,

- having regard to the Council conclusions on Bahrain of 24 May, 12 April, 21 March and 21 February 2011,

- having regard to the statement of 23 June and 30 September 2011 by the UN Secretary-General on the sentences imposed on 21 Bahraini political activists, human rights defenders and opposition leaders, and the Statements by the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on the bomb attack in Bahrain on 12 April 2012 and on Bahrain on 30 September 2011, 15 February, 24 April, 05 September, and 01 November 2012, and 08 January 2013,

- having regard to the Report of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), released in November 2011 and the Follow-Up Report on 21 November 2012,

- having regard to the GCC Ministerial Council statement on the terrorist bombings in Manama on 5 November 2012,

- having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 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 EU Guidelines on human Rights Defenders of 2004, as updated in 2008,

- having regard to the visit of its Human Rights Subcommittee to Bahrain 19. - 21.12.2012

- having regard to Rule 122 of its Rules of Procedure,


A. whereas many recent actions of the Bahraini government continue to seriously violate and restrict the rights and freedoms of parts of the Bahraini people, particularly the right of individuals to peaceful protest, free speech and digital freedoms;


B. whereas security and police forces continue to use disproportionate violence, leading to injuries and death; whereas violations by the Bahraini authorities are increasingly reported including extrajudicial arrests, extrajudicial raids of houses, unfair trials, media attacks, intimidation and humiliation of citizens at check points and massive discrimination at work and university;


C. whereas on 07 November 2012 the government has revoked the nationality of 31 activists who participated in peaceful protests without due process violating the rights of Bahraini nationals under international laws;


D. whereas on 30 October 2012 Shaikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, the interior minister, announced a ban on all protest gatherings and threatened to take legal action against organised anti-government demonstrations that included opposition political activists, lawyers and human rights activists;


E. whereas on 18 December 2012 Sayed Yousif al-Muhafdha, vice president of the Bahraini Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) who has campaigned tireless for the release of many activists in particular of Mr. Nabeel Rajab, President of the BCHR, has been detained and charged with using the social media to disseminate false news; whereas his case has been adjourned until 17 January 2013 and remains in custody, and if convicted he faces up to two years in jail; whereas he has been detained on several occasions by the Bahraini authorities as a part of an ongoing systematic targeting, harassment and detention of human rights defenders in Bahrain;


F. whereas on 05 November 2012, several homemade bombs detonated in the capital, Manama, killed two workers and injured a third one;


G. whereas on 07 January 2013 Bahrain's Court of Cassation upheld prison terms for 13 prominent activists on charges of plotting to overthrow the monarchy; whereas 8 of them including Mr. Abdelhadi al-Khawaja were condemned to life sentence; whereas this verdict is final and the only avenue left for the defendents is a royal pardon;


H. whereas on 18 October 2012, four men were detained on the basis of defaming the Bahraini King on a social network and during their arrest, security forces confiscated their computers and other electronic equipment; whereas all detainees denied any wrongdoing;


I. whereas despite promises to implement the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) recommendations and to respect basic human rights and fundamental freedoms, the Bahraini authorities have failed to investigate the violence and to hold the perpetrators to account; whereas Bahraini authorities continue their crackdown on peaceful political protesters;


J. whereas on 7 December 2012 Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifah called for dialogue with the country's opposition to break a deadlock; whereas a genuine dialogue between all forces is the only way forward to reach a comprehensive solution;


1. Expresses its grave concern that the violations of Human Rights in Bahrain continue unabated by arresting activists despite the welcome establishment of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) by King Hamad bin Isla Al Khalifa which had raised great hopes when it delivered its 26 reform recommendations,


2. Regrets that the BICI Report Follow Up issued on 21 November 2012 has produced no substantial change in the attitude of the Government of Bahrain and has not led to the aimed political solution and democratization of the country, and calls on the Bahraini authorities to ensure the strict application of the recommendations;


3. Reiterates its demand that the authorities stop violence, repression, prosecution, detention and torture of peaceful demonstrators and respect the freedom of assembly and expression, both online and offline, and calls on the Bahraini government to implement the necessary democratic reforms, encourage an inclusive and constructive national dialogue and reconciliation and restore social consensus in the country;


4.  Calls for a substantial judicial reform in order to introduce the freedom of expression and assembly;.


5. Condemns the latest sentences against opposition activists and medics and calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all Bahraini political prisoners detained for participating in peaceful pro-democracy protests, in particular Sayed Yousif al-Muhafadha, Nabeel Rajab and Abdulhadi al-Khawaja; strongly condemns the continuous crackdown on civilians, who choose to exercise their rights of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.


6. Calls to the Bahraini government to immediately lift the ban on all demonstrations as it could aggravate the situation in the country, is contrary to Bahrain's professed commitment to reform and will not help advance national reconciliation nor build trust among all parties, and to respect the universal right to peaceful assembly and free expression,


7. Calls on the Bahraini authorities to lift all entry restrictions for foreign journalists and international human rights organisations and to allow an independent monitoring of the evolution of the situation by the office of the UN Human Rights High commissioner and the implementation of the announced reforms; calls on the Bahraini authorities to adopt measures to deter future human rights violations,


8. Recalls Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stating that, "Everyone has the right to a nationality" and, "No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality",


9. Welcomes the adoption of the new EU human rights package and calls on the HRVP and all European institutions to place human rights at the centre of its relations with all third countries taking concrete actions, jointly with the 27 EU Member States, to ensure a clear and principled EU policy vis-a-vis Bahrain that addresses the ongoing serious human rights violations, including through demarches, public statements, initiatives at the Human Rights Council and conditionality in existing and future trade relations.


10. Calls on the Vice-President of the Commission/High representative in the context of the preparations for the EU-GCC Ministerial Meetings scheduled for mid2013 to hold the Bahraini Government to its promises to respect human rights, implement the necessary reforms, start independent investigations into human rights violations and ensure accountability and prevent impunity for those responsible;


11. Urges the next EU Foreign Affairs Council to adopt conclusions on the human rights situation in Bahrain with a strong call for the immediate and unconditional release of the imprisoned activists;


12. Instructs its president to forward this resolution to the Government and Parliament of the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Council, the Commission, and the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the EU Special Representative on Human Rights and the government and parliaments of the Member States.