Plenary speech on Bahrain, in particular the case of Nabeel Rajab

Marietje Schaake, on behalf of the ALDE Group Mr President, Commissioner and colleagues, human rights defender Nabil Rajab is in prison and in fact was arrested right after we, as Members of the European Parliament, met with him in Brussels. The general human rights situation in Bahrain remains dire. Thousands are in arbitrary arrest, citizenships are taken away from people and the tensions have been going on for years, and that has been bad; it is bad enough as it is. The EU and this House have been taking a lead role in addressing the tensions in Bahrain, not letting it be swept under other problems in the Middle East, and I think we have to continue, especially as the US has resumed military aid. But even so, the State Department has condemned the human rights violations in Bahrain, and now I want to ask: are we really in a situation where the European People’s Party is not going to participate in a joint motion for resolution addressing the human rights violations in Bahrain today? I can hardly believe it. And I urge them to think again what impact this will have for real people on the ground in Bahrain. I urge you all, and this is very serious, to reconsider your position and to support and unequivocal condemnation of human rights whereever they are violated even if it's by Gulf States that indeed are partners to EU Member States.