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UN Human Rights Council

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 21 April 2021

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Questions (839, 847, 855, 872, 873, 876)

Joan Collins

Question:

839. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if Ireland will lead a joint statement in the UN Human Rights Council for the upcoming 80th meeting of the Standing Committee (details supplied). [18314/21]

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Ruairí Ó Murchú

Question:

847. Deputy Ruairí Ó Murchú asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if his attention has been drawn to a significant Covid-19 outbreak in Jau prison in Bahrain; the details of the recent engagement he has had with the UN Human Rights Council and the EU-Bahrain human rights dialogue regarding Bahraini prisoners of conscience and their treatment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18650/21]

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Seán Haughey

Question:

855. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will raise concerns regarding the treatment of political prisoners in Jau prison in Bahrain; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that an outbreak of Covid-19 and overcrowding in the prison generally represent a serious threat to the health and welfare of the prisoners; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19187/21]

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John Brady

Question:

872. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will call for the release of Bahraini prisoners of conscience given the abuse and the rampant spread of Covid-19 within the prison system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20080/21]

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John Brady

Question:

873. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will condemn the mistreatment of Bahraini prisoners of conscience who are being abused by prison authorities on a daily basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20081/21]

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Seán Sherlock

Question:

876. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if his attention has been drawn to the death of a person (details supplied) while detained in Jau Prison; if he has made representations to the Bahraini Government regarding the alleged maltreatment of political prisoners in Bahraini prisons; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20195/21]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 839, 847, 855, 872, 873 and 876 together.

The human rights situation in Bahrain remains a matter of serious concern. Although Bahrain has repeatedly stated its commitment to improving its human rights record and safeguarding human rights as enshrined in the Bahraini Constitution, Ireland is concerned by ongoing instances of violations of fundamental freedoms, including violations of freedom of opinion and expression, as well as the targeting of human rights defenders and the treatment of prisoners.

I note with concern reports regarding an outbreak of Covid-19 in Jau prison in Bahrain. Ireland urges all States to safeguard the human rights of prisoners and detainees, including provision of healthcare services, as set out in the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, also known as the Mandela Rules. I also note recent reports that over 100 prisoners have been released to serve the remainder of their sentences outside of the prison system due to concerns regarding the spread of Covid-19 among prisoners.

Respect for human rights is an integral part of Ireland’s foreign policy and we consistently seek to raise our concerns on human rights issues through the most appropriate and effective channels. Our active participation at the UN Human Rights Council is particularly important in that regard. Ireland has raised the human rights issues in Bahrain at the Human Rights Council in the form of National Statements and through support to EU Statements.

Ireland also engages on the issue of human rights in Bahrain through the EU. At the most recent EU-Bahrain Human Rights Dialogue in February 2021, issues of concern were raised by the EU including rule of law, prison conditions, right to a fair trial, freedom of expression, freedom of association, death penalty, torture and the impact of Covid-19 on the human rights situation.

The EU Special Representative for Human Rights, Eamon Gilmore, has also made representations to the Bahraini authorities on human rights issues, including the detention of a number of individuals as well as the conditions of their detention.

Ireland will continue to monitor developments in Bahrain, and to call on the Bahraini Government to deliver on its stated commitment to make progress in relation to human rights.

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