European Parliament Holds Bahrain to Account for Abuses

Freedom House applauds the passage of a resolution by the European Parliament today, which calls for an end to the violent crackdown on peaceful protesters in Bahrain and for targeted sanctions against human rights abusers in Bahrain.

The resolution by European Parliament member Marietje Schaake also calls for an independent investigation into rights abuses in Bahrain, calls for an end to torture and detention of activists, and for free expression online and offline to be guaranteed. Additionally, the resolution urges the government of Bahrain to implement the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), which released a report in November 2011 criticizing the government’s reaction to the February 2011 protests and calling for reforms. The government pledged to implement the BICI’s recommendations. However, there has been no evidence of real reform efforts and Bahrain has been steadily moving in the wrong direction.

Bahrain is rated Not Free in the 2013 edition of Freedom House’s Freedom in the World report and Not Free in the 2012 edition of the Freedom of the Press and Freedom on the Net reports. Citizens have been broadly engaged in protests calling for a more representative government and denouncing ongoing human rights abuses since February 2011. Rights groups have reported ongoing arrests, intimidation, and in some cases torture of those who speak out against the regime. Earlier this month, Bahrain’s highest court upheld the sentences for 13 pro-democracy leaders, including 2012 Freedom Award winner Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja. These activists are a symbol of the widespread demand by the people for political reform. Their continued imprisonment reflects the government’s unwillingness to meet this demand.

Learn more:

Freedom in the World 2012 Bahrain

Freedom of the Press 2012 Bahrain

Freedom on the Net 2012 Bahrain

Countries at the Crossroads 2012 Bahrain