I note with concern reports regarding outbreaks 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. At the most recent EU-Bahrain Human Rights Dialogue in February 2021, issues of concern raised by the EU included prison conditions and the impact of Covid-19 on human rights.
Ireland is a strong supporter of the EU’s new Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime, established in December 2020. The Regime provides the EU with a concrete tool to target those responsible for serious human rights violations and abuses, wherever they might occur, including in States not currently subject to a specific sanctions regime. To date, sanctions have been imposed on a broad list of individuals and entities involved in human rights abuses, drawn from six different jurisdictions; China, Russia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Libya and DPRK.
These designations send a strong message that the promotion and protection of human rights are a priority of EU external action. The EU is willing to act tangibly and directly to confront serious human rights violations, when other tools have not brought about the desired change of behaviour.