Irish foreign minister voices concern over rights violations in Bahrain

The Irish foreign minister has raised serious concern over human rights violations in Bahrain, demanding that the Al Khalifah regime release a senior opposition leader and other political prisoners.

“The human rights situation in Bahrain remains a matter of serious concern. We are concerned by ongoing instances of violations of fundamental freedoms there,” Simon Coveney told a recent parliament session.

He also called on Manama to release the jailed secretary-general of opposition Haq Movement, Hassan Mushaima, whose health has been deteriorating dramatically because of the neglect of his physical health.

“I note with concern reports regarding the health and well-being of the person in question [Mushaima]. 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.”

A number of Irish lawmakers have grilled the foreign minister for voicing concern against rights abuses in Bahrain.

Ali Mushaima, son of the distinguished activist, recently dismissed allegations by the Bahraini Ministry of Interior that his father had received all the rights stipulated for prisoners, including full health care.

The Irish foreign minister said he would raise the issue at international organizations.

Separately, the European Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Brussels recently held a conference to mark the 10th anniversary of the pro-democracy movement in Bahrain.

Similar events were also held in Italy and some other European countries to denounce the Bahraini regime’s crackdown on dissent and its systematic abuse of the majority Shia population and discrimination against Sunni activists.

Several Western countries are accused of being complicit in the crackdown.

The United States and Britain have military bases in Bahrain, and human rights advocates say both are complicit in rights abuses in the country by refusing to exert the influence they apparently have over the monarchy.

Bahrainis in recent days have taken to the streets across the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom to mark the tenth anniversary of a popular uprising against the ruling monarchy.

The popular uprising in Bahrain began in mid-February 2011.

Manama has responded to the protests with an iron fist. Authorities have detained rights campaigners, broken up major opposition political parties, revoked the nationality of several pro-democracy activists and deported them.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have also helped Manama in its crackdown.


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