Bahrain dictatorship and the European Union


This video is called ‘Night raids, torture, sham trials a daily reality in Bahrain‘ – human rights activist.

From EurActiv.com:

The EU cannot overlook its Human Rights commitments in the East

24/04/2015 – 13:21

The EU has significantly increased its foreign policy activity since the Treaty of Lisbon, establishing itself a power with global influence, write Isabel Cerdá Marcos, Husain Adbulla and Karim Lahidji.

Isabel Cerdá Marcos is an Advocacy Associate at the European Centre for Human Rights. Husain Adbulla is President of Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain. Karim Lahidji is President of the International Federation of Human Rights.

The recent Iran talks have proved the EU’s importance as a global player in world politics. As enshrined in the Treaties, the EU is committed to defending and promoting the rule of law, human rights and democracy. This task is particularly necessary in the Middle East region, where many countries are strategic allies for trade and energy, but tend to have a very poor human rights record. Particularly striking is the situation in the Kingdom of Bahrain, a major ally for the UK and the US, hosting the US Fifth Naval Fleet in the Gulf Region. This small island, strategically placed between Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, underwent one of the worst “Arab Spring” revolutions in February 2011 with hundreds killed, imprisoned and tortured by the Bahraini authorities.

Well-known is the case of Nabeel Rajab, a Bahraini human rights defender and president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights. On 2 April 2015, Bahraini security forces and police arrested him at his home for peacefully speaking his mind about the human rights situation in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Nabeel Rajab has been accused of insulting a statutory body (by denouncing acts of torture in Jaw Prison in a piece he published last week) and spreading rumours during wartime (by criticising Bahrain’s involvement in the current conflict in Yemen and the civilian casualties related to the conflict). Nabeel remains under solitary confinement, and for these two charges, Nabeel Rajab faces up to 10 years in prison.

This is not the first time that the government has punished Rajab for exercising his internationally-guaranteed right to free expression. In May 2014, he completed a two-year prison sentence after taking part in peaceful assemblies and protests criminalised by the government. Mr Rajab is currently facing another trial for a previous tweet he wrote in September 2014. His appeal for this 6 months sentence was scheduled for 15 April. However, it took place on 5 April and was then delayed until 4 May, the prosecutor arguing the existence of new evidence under this case. Further, Nabeel’s home was raided that same day and all the electronics in his home (whether his own or not) were seized for evidence.

Nabeel has previously reached out to the EU to seek support for his case and long standing battle for Human Rights in Bahrain. On past occasions, the European External Action Service and the European Parliament have issued formal statements demanding his immediate release, as well as that of others fellow human rights defenders and Bahraini citizens labelled criminals by the Government for peacefully speaking their mind about the human rights violations and democratic deficit in Bahrain. Despite these gross human rights abuses and the blatant injustice they suffer, the EU institutions have not used their full leverage on the matter.

The European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (representing the Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain, The Bahrain Center for Democracy and Human Rights and the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy), together with the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of FIDH and OMCT have issued a joint statement on the matter. We have also reached out to Ms Mogherini’s office with an official joint letter, to ask for support in our advocacy campaign to free Nabeel and for the EU to officially position itself on the issue, as political leverage from EU institutions is crucial on the matter. ECDHR and FIDH have also jointly reached out to the President of the European Parliament, Mr Schulz, as well as members of the Foreign Affairs committee, the Human Rights subcommittee and the Delegation for Relations with the Arab Peninsula.

Nabeel’s case is just an example of the many injustices committed in Bahrain and in the Gulf Region daily, because they dare to speak out and to defend basic human rights and ideals. Injustice does not stop there; the treatment detainees receive in prisons is inhuman and degrading, and even amounts to grave torture, putting their physical and mental health, as well as the health and security of their relatives, at serious risk.

The European Union can exercise unique political and international pressure on Bahrain and other countries of the Gulf region where human rights are disregarded on a daily basis. The EU’s support is much needed. The Union should step up to its International commitments and keep waving the human rights flag higher and louder.

Bahraini authorities sentenced an Iraqi man to three years in prison on charges including rioting and joining an “unauthorised” protest in the capital Manama, official media reported: here.

European Union guilty in refugees’ drowning, United Nations say


This 20 April 2015 video says about itself:

More migrants drown in latest shipwreck

The calls for help from the middle of the Mediterranean continued on Monday after another boat filled with migrants ran aground off Greece.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

UN attacks ‘callous’ EU over sea tragedy

Tuesday 21st April 2015

UNITED NATIONS high commissioner for human rights Zeid Raad al-Hussein urged European Union governments yesterday to take a new and “less callous” approach to the surge of migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea.

Mr Hussein said in Geneva that recent deaths in the Mediterranean were “the result of a continuing failure of governance accompanied by a monumental failure of compassion.”

He called for the creation of a robust and well-financed European search-and-rescue effort and urged the international community to set up an independent inquiry.

The UN high commissioner said that Europe was turning its back on some of the world’s most vulnerable migrants and ran the risk of turning the Mediterranean into “a vast cemetery.”

His passion and humanity contrasted with the tired repetition of past failures by EU border surveillance agency Frontex head Fabrice Leggeri, who insisted that recent tragedies involving migrants trying to enter Europe showed the continent must do more to stop economic migration.

EU leaders will hold an emergency summit on Thursday to address the crisis in the Mediterranean.

The bloc’s president Donald Tusk made the announcement yesterday after days of waffling and indecision on how to tackle the rapidly worsening tragedy of hundreds of migrants drowning during desperate attempts to reach Europe’s shores.

The situation worsened further yesterday, with rescue crews still searching for survivors and bodies while hundreds more migrants took to the sea.

Prime Minister David Cameron, who has been to the fore in demanding an end to seach-and-rescue operations as a supposed “pull factor” for refugees, welcomed the summit.

He said: “I think what we need is a comprehensive plan that does involve elements of search and rescue but, crucially, we have got to do more to deal with the problems in the countries from which these people are coming.”

That in itself sounds OK, Mr Cameron. However, you forgot to mention that these ‘problems in the countries from which these people are coming‘ are caused to a very large extent by the warmongering by your government and governments like yours, in Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Mali etc.

DEATH TOLL FOR MEDITERRANEAN DISASTER COULD HIT 900: Only 28 survivors have been found thus far. The captain and a crew member have been arrested for “multiple homicide.” [NYT]

THE appalling death of up to 950 people fleeing the war-torn regions of the Middle East and North Africa has prompted the political representatives of European capitalism to rush to Luxembourg for an emergency meeting to discuss this ‘humanitarian’ crisis. Most of them support the ‘Australian solution’ – that the boats should be turned back at gunpoint as soon as they set sail, and to hell with the poor, the oppressed and the hungry: here.

European Union plans more aggressive measures against refugees: here.

Blood on their hands: Libya’s boat refugees and “humanitarian” imperialism: here.