Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Questions (35)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

35. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to the continued widespread human rights abuses by the Bahraini regime; the recent announcement of an Arab Court of Human Rights to be based in Bahrain when it is established; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41159/13]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The overall human rights environment in Bahrain continues to be of serious concern. Ireland shares the concerns recently expressed by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights regarding the deep polarization of society in Bahrain and the harsh clampdown on human rights defenders and peaceful protesters. Such actions continue to make a durable political solution based on reconciliation and dialogue more difficult to secure.I have ensured that Ireland’s concerns on human rights issues in Bahrain have been conveyed regularly to the Bahraini authorities and I will continue to do so. Ireland was one of 47 member states who participated in a joint statement expressing serious concern over the human rights situation in Bahrain at the current session of the UN Human Rights Council on 9 September. In the statement, the signatories expressed their concern regarding the protection of human rights in Bahrain and called on the Government to expedite the implementation of the recommendations received from the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry in this regard. In June, the Secretary General of my Department met with senior officials in the Bahraini Ministry of Human Rights while visiting Manama, during which he urged the need for dialogue and reconciliation as well as full respect for human rights.

I am aware of the decision adopted by Arab League ministers meeting in Cairo on 1 September establishing an Arab Court of Human Rights and of Bahrain’s subsequent offer to host the court, once it is established. Details regarding the full remit of the court or how it will operate have not yet been made available.

I very much hope that any Arab Court of Human Rights that is eventually established will contribute to more effective promotion and protection of human rights in the region and in Bahrain in particular. It should be established in accordance with international standards and provide redress for all victims of human rights violations. It equally seems clear that any steps taken by Bahrain to fulfil its international human rights obligations could only enhance its suitability and credibility as a location for the court. Officials in my Department will continue to closely monitor its development.