Question to the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade:
To ask if he has made representations regarding the detention and treatment of Bahraini nationals by their own Government, in particular the treatment of some Bahraini doctors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. -Jerry Buttimer
For WRITTEN Answer on Tuesday, 26th March, 2013
Ref. No. 14900/13
Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore):
I remain very concerned about the overall political and human rights situation in Bahrain. I have repeatedly called on the Bahraini Government to demonstrate its commitment to upholding human rights and to implement in full the recommendations of the Bahraini International Commission of Inquiry. The Commission has made specific recommendations which set out the way forward for Bahrain in terms of commitments in the areas of political dialogue, rule of law, human rights, and refraining from excessive violence. I am particularly concerned that the Bahraini authorities ensure that fundamental rights in relation to freedom of expression, and peaceful assembly and association, are fully respected. I have made clear in this House on a number of occasions my view that all charges against the medical professionals should have been dropped. Given the great concerns and doubts which have surrounded the case of the medics from the start, and particularly in light of the well-documented reports of ill-treatment to which many of those originally detained were subject, it is my view that the Bahraini Government should consider exercising clemency and releasing the imprisoned medical professionals. This would also be very much in the wider interests of promoting urgently needed reconciliation within Bahrain.
At the same time, I welcome the fact that there has been some progress in relation to political dialogue with the main opposition parties agreeing to meet with the Bahraini government within a process of national dialogue, which re-commenced last month. It is important that all sides engage constructively in this dialogue, with a view to furthering reconciliation and reform within Bahrain.
I have conveyed our concerns on human rights issues at every suitable opportunity with the Bahraini authorities and will continue to do so. Officials in my Department also regularly convey these serious concerns to the Bahraini Ambassador in London; and Ireland’s Ambassador in Riyadh, who is accredited to Bahrain, has raised these issues directly with the authorities there on every appropriate occasion, including most recently with the Foreign Minister while the Ambassador was in Bahrain over the St. Patrick’s Day period.