• Fri. Mar 24th, 2023

Bahrain Battles Critics As It Hosts The World’s MPs


Mar 17, 2023

Worldwide Parliamentary Union, held in Bahrain from March 11-15, 2023IPU

Bahrain has confronted an uncomfortable week internet hosting a whole lot of parliamentarians from all over the world on the Inter-Parliamentary Union Meeting, with many delegates drawing consideration to shortcomings in Bahrain’s personal human rights document and to the place of some regime critics in jail, together with Bahraini-Danish citizen Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, who has been imprisoned since 2011.

Greater than 1,700 MPs, representing about 143 parliaments, attended the occasion. European MPs had been among the many most vocal critics of their hosts, with a number of members of the Danish delegation, together with Søren Søndergaard, Chris Jensen Skriver and Kim Valentin, taking to the stage to name for Al-Khawaja to be launched. These calls had been echoed by delegates from Finland, Iceland, Eire and elsewhere.

Søndergaard mentioned the Bahraini authorities had ignored his request to go to Al-Khawaja in jail. One other delegate, Karsten Hønge, tweeted an image of himself standing outdoors Jau jail the place Al-Khawaja is being held and added “His crime? Standing up for human rights and freedom of speech.”

Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, director of the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), described the meeting as “a PR catastrophe for the Bahraini regime”.

Human rights group stored out

The criticisms of Bahrain had been rising even earlier than the meeting began. Within the days main as much as the occasion, Human Rights Watch (HRW) mentioned two of its employees members had had their visas withdrawn – one thing strongly criticised from the stage by a member of the Dutch delegation Petra Stienen, who referred to as on the IPU president – Portugal’s Duarte Pacheco – to make an official assertion clearly denouncing it.

HRW, which holds everlasting observer standing with the IPU, additionally pointed to the “intensive document of great human rights abuses in Bahrain”, together with the continued detention of Al-Khawaja and restrictions on freedom of expression and affiliation.

Bahraini-Danish citizen Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja to be launched from Jau Jail in Bahrain, throughout his handle to the 146th meeting of the Worldwide Parliamentary UnionIPU

A number of Bahrainis had been additionally arrested within the lead-up to the occasion, together with Ebrahim Al-Mannai – seemingly for tweeting an announcement that Bahrain ought to repair its legislative system and make the parliament “optimistic and influential … within the lives of the folks”. The Public Prosecution Workplace mentioned it had acquired studies about folks “misusing social media” by publishing phrases and recordings “that might prejudice public order and the necessities for safeguarding safety and nationwide peace”.

Previously, many questions have been raised concerning the nation’s document on elections and its suppression of political events and people essential of the regime.

A spokesperson for the IPU declined to touch upon whether or not Bahrain was an appropriate venue for its occasion, which ran from March 11-15 underneath the slogan “Selling peaceable coexistence and inclusive societies: Preventing intolerance”. Nonetheless, the spokesperson mentioned “IPU Assemblies are an open area for delegates to precise themselves freely on the problems of the day. They’re alternatives for frank dialogue … MPs can elevate consciousness and conduct discreet diplomacy on a large number of points which concern democracy, human rights and the rule of legislation.”

Niku Jafarnia, Bahrain researcher at HRW, famous that the IPU’s management had remained silent concerning the arrest of opposition activists, the continued detention of Al-Khawaja and the withdrawal of visas, including that the silence “has solely served to strengthen Bahrain’s whitewashing of human rights abuses, and has made a mockery of [the IPU’s] slogan of ‘For democracy. For everybody.’ ”

A Bahrain authorities spokesperson declined to deal with questions for this text concerning the withdrawal of visas for HRW employees, however mentioned “Bahrain has a well-established democratic and parliamentary system” and mentioned Al-Khawaja was serving a sentence for “severe terrorism-related crimes following the due authorized course of”.

On the day the occasion closed, Amnesty Worldwide issued an announcement calling for the fast and unconditional launch of Al-Khawaja, who it described as a prisoner of conscience.

The stress group mentioned Al-Khawaja had skilled a cardiac arrhythmia on February 28 and was taken to Bahrain Defence Drive hospital the place a physician mentioned he must be urgently referred to a heart specialist. Nonetheless, when Al-Khawaja refused to be handcuffed whereas within the hospital, he was taken again to jail with out being assessed by a heart specialist.

Al-Khawaja’s daughter Maryam Al-Khawaja mentioned in an announcement that her father “continues to endure dire jail circumstances and systematic denial of ample medical therapy, like so many different Bahraini political prisoners.”

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Dominic Dudley is a contract journalist with greater than twenty years of expertise in reporting on enterprise, financial and political tales within the Center East, Africa, Asia and Europe.

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