The human rights situation in Bahrain is a matter of concern. I was deeply troubled to learn of the executions of three people in July, including human rights activists Ali Al Arab and Ahmed Al Malali. These executions follow on from a considerable erosion of fundamental freedoms in Bahrain in recent years, including freedom of opinion and expression.
On 27 July, the EEAS issued a statement with regard to the executions in Bahrain. The statement noted that “the death penalty is a cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, which fails to act as a deterrent and represents an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity”. Ireland fully supports this statement.
The abolition of capital punishment is one of Ireland's international priorities and we condemn its use in all circumstances. A moratorium on the death penalty had been in place in Bahrain since 2010, and we saw the resumption of capital punishment in Bahrain in 2017 as a very negative development. Ireland joins with the EU in calling on Bahrain to again introduce a moratorium on executions, as a step towards the abolition of the death penalty.
Ireland regularly raises our concerns on the human rights situation in Bahrain, and use of the death penalty, through the UN Human Rights Council. For example, in September 2018, Ireland expressed concerns about the ongoing restrictions on civil society space and the treatment of human rights defenders, and called on Bahrain to respect freedom of opinion and expression. In February 2019, Ireland reiterated concern at the ongoing detention of human rights defenders. In our most recent Item 4 statement at the Human Rights Council in June/July 2019, Ireland called on Bahrain to ensure respect for freedom of opinion and expression, and the right to a fair trial.
My Department regularly raises the issue of human rights abuses with the Bahraini authorities. Most recently, in March of this year officials from my Department raised our human rights concerns directly during a meeting with officials from the Embassy of Bahrain, which is based in London.
My Department 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. We shall do so both directly with Bahraini officials, as well as at EU and international level, whenever opportunities arise.