Three deputies of the Dáil Éireann – Niall Collins, Joan Collins, and Michael Creed – submitted one question each, to the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney; regarding the ongoing human rights violations in Bahrain and the efforts Ireland can make towards the release of Shaikh Ali Salman, the leader of the political opposition in the country. Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) welcomes these parliamentary questions and thanks the before-mentioned TDs for bringing attention to the ongoing human rights abuses and the plight of imprisoned political activists in Bahrain.
Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his views on the matters raised in correspondence by [Shaikh Ali Salman]; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will address the ongoing serious human rights violations and lack of democratic institutions in Bahrain; and if the Government demanded the release of the leader of the political opposition [Shaikh Ali Salman].
Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his views on the ongoing detention of the leader of the political opposition in Bahrain [Shaikh Ali Salman]; the efforts Ireland can make to progress their release; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Deputies’ main concerns regarded Shaikh Ali Salman’s detention. He is the al-Wefaq opposition society leader, detained arbitrarily in 2015 and condemned without a fair trial. He is currently imprisoned with no opportunity for appeal, sentenced to life in prison following trials on speech charges and spurious accusations of espionage. He is a Twelver Shiite and is widely perceived to have been one of the leaders of the 1990s uprising in Bahrain. His legitimacy as a leader is derived from elections that are held every four years in Al Wefaq’s General Conference where at least 50%+1 of all members in Al Wefaq elect the Secretary-General.
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney answered taking all questions together: “The human rights situation in Bahrain remains a matter of serious concern. […] we are concerned by ongoing instances of violations of fundamental freedoms. […] I note with concern reports regarding the health and well-being of the person in question [Shaikh Ali Salman]. Ireland urges all States to safeguard the human rights of prisoners and detainees as set out in the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, also known as the Mandela rules”.
The minister then said, respect for human rights will be concerned through international bodies, participating actively to the UN Human Rights Council; and through the EU, with its delegation in Riyadh (accredited to Bahrain), the Special Representative for Human Rights of the EU, has already addressed its human rights concerns to the Bahraini government stressing about the current situation of Shaikh Ali Salman. Simon Coveney concluded ensuring that “Ireland will continue to monitor developments in Bahrain”, to ask the Bahraini Government to make progress about its commitments relating to human rights.
ADHRB thanks the three deputies who issued the questions. Human rights violations continue undeterred in Bahrain, and its population needs the international community to stand up against these infringements. These have been made even when the government accepted international recommendations explicitly asking to prevent such behaviours. Releasing all political prisoners, including Shaikh Ali Salman, would be an important step
in limiting human rights violations in the country. The Minister’s answer is well received. It is expected to see continuing diplomatic action from the Irish state through international bodies, to compel the Bahraini government to its promises.
This post was originally published on Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain.