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Alyn urges EU to get tougher on Bahrain

Alyn Smith MEP has called on the EU's Foreign Affairs Chief to urgently review Europe's stance on Bahrain following unfair elections held last week.

In a letter to Federica Mogherini, Alyn Smith, a full member of the Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, said the EU was wrong to condemn Bahrain's opposition party for boycotting the elections given the highly repressive conditions and the country's failure to achieve democratic reform.  

The EU's position was conveyed through a statement of the Member States' Ambassadors in Bahrain on 16th October.

The MEP for Scotland also urged the EU to call for the release of political prisoners and adopt a strategy to improve the country's human rights situation. Violations continue to be reported, including the detention of human rights activist Nabeel Rajab shortly after his visit and evidence session to the European Parliament.

Commenting, Alyn Smith MEP said:

"Instead of condemning the opposition for highlighting the lack of free and fair elections we should be addressing the abuses committed by the ruling power and pushing for democratic reforms.

"The EU has never explicitly called on the Bahrain Government to release political prisoners and human rights defenders. It's clear that quiet-diplomacy has failed to produce any results and it's time we adopted a strategy that will visibly address the human rights situation.

"I'm calling on the EU to re-focus its priorities on Bahrain and ensure that the defence of fundamental rights and the promotion of democratic reforms remain at the top of the agenda."

Alyn's letter to Federica Mogherini is available here.