SHAFAQNA – Three members of the European Parliament have written a letter to the Vice-President of the European Commission, expressing deep concern with a statement issued by the EU Ambassadors in Bahrain that criticised the oppositions decision not to participate in the recent elections.
Ana Gomes MEP, Alyn Smith MEP and Heidi Hautala MEP described the decision by the Bahrain opposition to boycott as “due to a lack of conditions to hold free and fair elections” in Bahrain. Addressing the newly appointed High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs & Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, the MEP’s encouraged the EU to “refocus” its priorities in relation to Bahrain “according to the EU guidelines on Human Rights Defenders.”
Their letter praises the opposition in Bahrain, saying despite “working under highly repressive conditions” they have pushed for “a serious dialogue and genuine reforms towards democratic rule.” They add that in failing to mention “the several abuses committed by the ruling power” in Bahrain the EU fails to address the main priority which should be “the defence of fundamental human rights and “promotion of democratic reforms.”
The MEP’s are further critical of the European Union’s attempts to promote reform in Bahrain, noting that the EU has “never explicitly called upon the Government of Bahrain to release political prisoners,” further noting that attempts at “quiet diplomacy” have failed to produce any serious results. The detention of Zeinab Alkhawaja and Nabeel Rajab, and the case against Maryam Alkhawaja are given as examples of the ongoing “systematic violations” that continue to be reported.
Al Wefaq National Islamic Society welcomes the letter from the MEP’s and hopes that the EU, and the rest of the international community, will note that Bahrain continues to commit human rights abuses and reject democratic reform. Bahrain continues to be resistant to soft diplomacy and responds only when assertive steps are taken. A willingness of the international community to condemn Bahrain’s failures to reform is the best role the international governments can play in hoping for serious reform to return Bahrain to stability and a peaceful future.