Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Questions (372, 374, 377, 382)

Joe O'Brien

Question:

372. Deputy Joe O'Brien asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to the use of the death penalty in Bahrain, in particular in cases (details supplied); if he will intervene in same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18103/20]

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Catherine Murphy

Question:

374. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the nature of his most recent engagement with his counterparts in Bahrain; if he has discussed human rights conditions in Bahrain with them and or his European counterparts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18197/20]

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Róisín Shortall

Question:

377. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will address human rights violations in Bahrain; if he will condemn the use of the death penalty by the Government of Bahrain, including two persons (details supplied) who have been sentenced to death; and the actions he will take to raise awareness of this issue. [18249/20]

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Cian O'Callaghan

Question:

382. Deputy Cian O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if Bahrain will be requested to improve its position on human rights; if the execution of two pro-democracy activists (details supplied) will be raised with his Bahraini counterpart; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18356/20]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 372, 374, 377 and 382 together.

The human rights situation in Bahrain remains a matter of concern. Although progress has been made in certain areas, there continue to be instances of human rights violations. I am aware of the cases raised by the Deputies, and the decision of the Court of Cassation in Bahrain to confirm the death penalty ruling in their cases.

A moratorium on the death penalty had been in place in Bahrain since 2010 and the decision to resume the use of capital punishment in 2017 was deeply concerning. The execution of three people in Bahrain in July 2019 was a particularly negative development.

The abolition of capital punishment is one of Ireland's international priorities and we condemn the use of the death penalty in all circumstances. Ireland joins with the EU in calling on Bahrain to halt the execution of theses two individuals. Ireland fully supports the EEAS statement issued on 13 July, which notes that the death penalty “is incompatible with human dignity”, “does not serve as an effective deterrent to crime and makes any miscarriage of justice irreversible”. 

Our principled stance on human rights feeds into our bilateral dialogue with Bahrain. Senior officials from my Department have raised our concerns about this case directly with the Bahraini Ambassador to Ireland, reiterating our long-standing opposition to the death penalty. When I met the Bahraini Foreign Minister at the UN General Assembly in New York in September 2019, I also raised the human rights situation in Bahrain with him, expressing the hope that we can have an open and honest discussion on these issues.

I note the recent statement made by the Bahraini Ministry of Foreign Affairs that, should countries which still use capital punishment, especially Islamic countries, agree to abolish the death penalty, that Bahrain would seriously consider this issue. I urge Bahrain to consider assuming a position of leadership in this regard. 

At the most recent informal EU-Bahrain Human Rights dialogue in November 2019, issues discussed included the right to a fair trial, prison conditions, and the overall human rights situation in the country. I also understand that the EU Special Representative for Human Rights, Eamon Gilmore, has made contact with the Bahraini authorities in relation to these two cases.