The European Parliament yesterday passed a strongly worded resolution on Bahrain that called for targeted EU sanctions against human rights violators, restricting of trade and the export of crowd control arms such as tear gas.
It supported the imposing of visa restrictions and asset freezes of those responsible for human rights violations, as documented by the BICI, in what is the first case of an international body making such calls with regards to Bahrain. The motion put forward 20 conclusions in total that included the release of political prisoners, reversing of the revoking of citizenships, allowing freedom of expression and assembly and more.
Notably it expressed “strong disapproval regarding the lack of an EU response to the ongoing situation in Bahrain”, calling on the Vice President of Human Rights to condemn “the ongoing violations of basic human rights and fundamental freedoms” in Bahrain.
The motion had been put forward by a number of MEP’s from different member states, including those who recently visited Bahrain. The effort was led by Dutch Member of European Parliament Marietje Schaake, who was denied entry into Bahrain in December and has written about the motion here.
The European Union is now facing increasing pressure from its democratic institution to push for reform in Bahrain. The Parliament has consistently called for the respect for human rights in Bahrain but this latest move is the strongest example to date of clear condemnation and a call to action.