Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Human rights situation in Bahrain

Delivered in Plenary - 17th Janaury 2013

Mr President

Let me make it clear that much of what has happened in the kingdom of Bahrain since the anti-government protests began two years again has been unacceptable. The police have frequently acted with gross disproportionality, and innocent protestors have indeed been killed.

It goes without saying that those responsible for such outrages and crimes must be brought to justice. My group, the ECR, shares with other groups profound concerns about the withdrawal of citizenship from some of the protestors; issues of judicial impartiality also come to mind, and the limits placed on freedom of expression more broadly are an issue.

Nevertheless, we must bear in mind the existential challenges to Bahrainís constitutional monarchy and the risks posed by Iran in particular. The consequences of a successful Iranian attempt to topple the pro-Western Government would be disastrous. We therefore welcome the resolution urging the promotion of free speech, an end to authoritarian violence and the investigation of alleged abuses. I have no doubt that the whole Chamber will share the desire for both a stable Bahraini Government and a comprehensive commitment to human rights for all and democracy in that kingdom.