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Proposition de résolution - B7-0132/2014Proposition de résolution
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MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on Bahrain, in particular the cases of Nabeel Rajab, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja and Ibrahim Sharif

4.2.2014 - (2014/2553(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

Willy Meyer, Patrick Le Hyaric, Marie-Christine Vergiat, Alda Sousa, Marisa Matias, Paul Murphy on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group

Procédure : 2014/2553(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on Bahrain, in particular the cases of Nabeel Rajab, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja and Ibrahim Sharif


The European Parliament,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions of 27 October 2011 on Bahrain, of 15 March 2012, 16 January 2013 and 12 September 2013 on human rights violations in Bahrain,

–   having regard to its resolution of 24 March 2011 on European Union relations with the Gulf Cooperation Council,

–   having regard to the visit of a delegation of its Subcommittee on Human Rights to Bahrain on 19 and 20 December 2012 and to the press statement issued by that delegation, having regard to the Arab Peninsula Delegation visit from 27 to 30 April 2013 and to its press statement;

- having regard to the statements by the EU High Representative Catherine Ashton of 1 July 2013 on the occasion of her visit to Bahrain for the EU-GCC Ministerial meeting in Manama, Bahrain,

–   having regard to the statements by the UN Secretary-General of 23 June 2011 and 30 September 2011 on the sentences imposed on 21 Bahraini political activists, human rights defenders and opposition leaders, having regard to the statement of the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights of 6 August 2013;

- having regard to the opinions adopted by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention at its sixty-sixth session, 29 April–3 May 2013 No. 12/2013 (Bahrain) concerning Nabeel Abdulrasool Rajab;

–   having regard to the report released by the BICI in November 2011 and to its follow-up,

–   having regard to Articles 61, 84, 87, 134, 135 and 146 of Bahrain’s Law of Criminal Procedure,

–   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, 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 the 2004 EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders, as updated in 2008,

–   having regard to the 1949 Geneva Convention,

–   having regard to Rules 122(5) and 110(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas three years ago the peaceful mobilization in Bahrain asking for democracy, social and labour rights, respect of human rights, for better living conditions and end to torture and corruption started; whereas this turmoil lead to a violent repression by police using tear gas and live and rubber bullets against protesters,

B.  whereas repression increased after the army intervened and with the invasion by Saudi Arabian troops; whereas on 15 March 2011 a three-month country-wide state of emergency was decreed; whereas so at least 45 people were killed, around 100 disappeared and thousands injured;

C. whereas the Government of Bahrain continues to arrest and charge protestors their rights to assembly, associations and expression, whereas during this time over 1000 people were arrested for having supported, organised or taken part in the protest movement, or for denouncing the human rights violations committed by the authorities; whereas even children have been arrested and kept in adult detention unsuitable for minors, where they have reported been tortured and improperly treated,


D. whereas on 8 January 2014 the 19-year-old boy Fadel Abbas died in custody after being shot in head by Bahraini security forces, whereas Abbas was wounded when security forces tried to arrest him and others as they went to visit a recently released prisoner in the village of Markh,


E. whereas Nabeel Rajab, President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights and Deputy Secretary General of FIDH, has been detained since July 2012, whereas he was initially sentenced to three-months imprisonment for having "insulted statutory bodies" in a Twitter message, whereas he was later sentenced to three years' imprisonment of August 2012, whereas while still in detention he was sentenced on two others protest-related charges: participation in "illegal gatherings" and calling for manifestation without prior authorisation, as well as incitement to gatherings and "illegal marches" through social medias, whereas in December 2012 his sentence was reduced to two years in appeal, whereas his health is reported to be deteriorating; whereas in its opinion the UN Working Group on Arbitrary detentions considers that the detention of Nabeel Rajab contravenes articles 19, 20 and 21 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and articles 9, paragraph 1, 14, 21 and 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;


F. whereas Abdulhadi al-Khawaja was sentenced in June 2011 by a military court to life imprisonment, whereas in January 2013 Bahrain's highest court upheld his conviction and those of 12 leading activists for their role in anti-government demonstrations; whereas he has reported a sever level of torture staring from the time of his arrest in April 2011; whereas he carried a hunger strike in March 2013 protesting their ill-treatment, whereas his health has deteriorated and he is still denied visitation rights;


G. whereas Ibrahim Sharif, General Secretary of the secular National Democratic Action Society and formerly associated with the underground leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Bahrain, was arrested in March 2011 for his role in the Bahraini uprising; whereas he was sentenced to five years of prison in June 2011, whereas in September 2012 an appeal court upheld his sentence in spite the allegations that confessions were extracted under torture;


H. whereas ahead of peaceful protest planned in Manama on August 2013, the King of Bahrain banned any protest and sit-in in the Capital and ordered the implementation of a set of draconian measures which further jeopardised fundamental freedoms in the Kingdom, thus putting human rights defenders activities at further risk;


I. whereas on 24 April 203 the government postponed for the second time -this time indefinitely- the visit to the country of UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment;


J.   whereas the conflict has been depicted as one being between Shias and Sunni in an attempt to deviate from the true reasons of it; whereas the Government of Bahrain uses this argument to try to re-frame the legitimate calls for democracy and respect for fundamental human rights, whereas protestors insist this is a popular uprising seeking much-needed reforms, not a sectarian one; whereas many of them still call for the resignation of King Hamad Ben Issa Al-Khalifa,

K. whereas many of the employees who participated in 2012 in a huge wage of public-sector job lay-offs were arrested and hundreds of them had not returned to work according to date from the General Federation of Bahrain Trade Unions; whereas migrant workers are facing exploitation in the country, in particular women as domestic workers;

L. whereas several doctors have affirmed that the threat of arrest hangs over protesters who check into a hospital; whereas demonstrators tend to avoid hospitals unless gravely wounded; whereas dozens of doctors and nurses were arrested for their alleged support for anti-governmental protests;

M. whereas on 2 July 2011 the Bahraini King Hamad said he was launching a National Dialogue to address the concerns of Bahraini citizens in the wake of the events; whereas a National Commission was set up following the release of the BICI Report to make recommendations to the legislative body to amend existing laws and to adopt new legislation taking into account the findings and recommendations in the Report, but so far with very few results, whereas no investigation has been carried out into killings by the security forces during the uprising demonstrations,

N. whereas three years after the start of the uprisings, the repression still continues; whereas human rights defenders and activists continue to be arrested and prosecuted, and reports of torture and ill-treatment continue; whereas many people are still disappeared after the hard repression that followed the Saudi military intervention in Bahrain;

O. whereas the US 5th Fleet is stationed in Bahrain, facing Iran; whereas Bahraini riot police is trained and armed by British trainers and weapons; whereas despite the violence by the Bahraini authorities United States and United Kingdom have signed weapon contracts with Bahrain; whereas the Bahraini government is using these weapons, including the massive use of tear gas, against its population;

1.  Firmly condemns human rights violations in Bahrain and demands the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners, human rights defenders and individuals detained and charged for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly,


2.  Condemns the persisting repression in Bahrain that has led to dozens of dead people and thousands of injured ones and expresses its solidarity with the families of all the victims; condemns the lack of improvement of the situation, in particular the fact that no proper investigation has been carried out into killings by the security forces,

3.  Calls urgently on King Hamad and his government to stop violence, repression and detention of peaceful demonstrators; urges the authorities to act in strict accordance with their international and national obligations;

4. Reiterates its condemnation to the military invasion of Saudi and United Arab Emirates forces in Bahrain;

5.  Reaffirms its support to the struggle of the Bahrain working people and the demonstrators for better living conditions, for the end of corruption and for attaining democracy; insists that the future of Bahrain must firmly rest in the hands of the Bahraini people, without any external interference

6. Is strongly concerned about the situation in Bahrain, especially the means used to silence the opposition, the allegations of tortures and treatment of the wounded; is concerned about the role played by the Gulf Cooperation Council and mainly of Saudi Arabia;

7.  Reiterates its point of view that demonstrators have expressed legitimate democratic aspirations and that their demands might be implemented;

8.  Condemns the use of Special military courts to try civilians; stress that civilians must be tried in civilian courts and that every detained person must be charged with a recognizable criminal offence, with adequate access to a lawyer and enough time to prepare a defence; expresses its strong concern on the life sentences of the opposition activists; 

9. Is strongly concerned about the massive dismissals and arrests of workers, trade union activists and trade union leaders; express its particular concern on the situation of doctors and migrants workers;

10.  Reiterates its call the for the full respect of Human Rights and fundamental freedoms, with special regard to the freedom of assembly and expression, freedom of religion, women’s rights and gender equality, fight against discrimination;


11. Calls on the Bahraini authorities to commute all death sentences in Bahrain; reiterates its strong opposition against the use of the death penalty and urges the Bahraini authorities to declare an immediate moratorium;


12. Deplores the fact that Bahraini authorities decided to cancel the visit to the country of Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment; calls upon the Bahraini authorities to facilitate visits of the Special Rapporteurs on freedom of association and assembly and on the situation of human rights defenders;

13. Calls for the establishment of an international monitoring mechanism with the mandate of monitoring the implementation of the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) and of the UN Universal Periodic Review of Bahrain, including those related to human rights defenders; urges this new mechanism to conduct an independent and impartial inquiry in order to investigate committed breaches of human rights, including the cases of extrajudicial execution and arbitrary arrest, identify those responsible and where appropriate bring them to justice, with compensation for the victims and their families;

14. Calls for the 5th US Fleet stationed in Bahrain to leave the area; calls for the dismantling of all foreign military bases;


15. Strongly criticises the intensive arms trade of some EU Member States with various countries in the region; calls in this respect on the Council to verify whether there have been breaches in the EU Code of Conduct on arms export and to adopt stringent measures so that this code is fully respected by all the Member States; calls for the suspension and ban exports of tear gas and crowd control material to Bahrain until investigations have been made as regards to their improper utilisation and until the perpetrators of such improper utilisation are held accountable;

16. Regrets the weak EU response to the situation in Bahrain, regrets in particular that, in spite of calls by human rights organisations, VP/HR Catherine Ashton has not condemned the on-going violations of basic human rights and fundamental freedoms in the country and failed to seriously address the issues of human rights and treatment of political prisoners during EU-Gulf Cooperation Council Ministerial meeting in Manama;

17. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Government and Parliament of the Kingdom of Bahrain.