The Parliament of The European Union today voted to condemn human rights abuses in Bahrain and demanded the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners.
This motion for resolution was passed by MEP’s, cementing the institutions support for freedom in Bahrain. It specifically called on the Bahraini 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”.
The motion reiterated the Parliaments demand for 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.”.
This includes human rights activist Abdulhadi Al Khawaja who is now on his 36th day of hunger strike and whose condition has now deteriorated to an extremely dangerous level.
Also mentioned by name is Mahdi Abu Deeb, the head of Bahrain’s teaching union, who has been in prison for more than 11 months. In september he was given a ten-year sentence, a jail term the European Parliament believes should be reversed.
As well as demanding an end to human rights violations, the Parliament also expressed that it finds the democratic aspirations of the Bahraini people “legitimate” and called on the Bahraini authorities to make the necessary reforms to achieve a social consensus.
It also called on EU member states to “suspend all military and security-related sales and assistance, including surveillance technologies to Bahrain” until Bahrain has implemented reforms. It welcomed the BICI report and it’s recommendations but urged Bahrain to swiftly implement, with a real focus to end the impunity enjoyed by it’s leaders.
The European Parliament has voted in the past to support the people of Bahrain, but naturally such votes will not necessarily transform into real political action.
We are hopeful that this can act as a source of encouragement for member states, as well as non-EU nations, to adopt similar motions and push the Bahrain Government to end violations and begin reforms.
Either way this shows the international disgust with Bahrain’s treatment of it’s people and is a promising sign that international pressure may finally be turning against the dictatorship.
You can watch one of the speeches from proposer Marietje Schaake here: