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Bahrain — [Siobhain McDonagh in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:04 am on 11th September 2018.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health) 10:04 am, 11th September 2018

The hon. Gentleman’s words are very wise. We look to the Minister for a response on that, which is what this debate is all about. Can we encourage Bahrain to get back to where it was? If we can do that, I think we will be moving in the right direction. I am sure the Minister will refer to that point in his response.

I believe in the friendship that we have with Bahrain. British rule was relinquished in 1971 and yet we are in a situation where Bahrain is comfortable housing our military base. We have a large number of British expats working and living in Bahrain and many Bahraini students attend universities in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. We are friends, but I wonder whether we have told our friends what they need to know—that their human rights record is not acceptable. While we are thankful for recent changes in legislation that give more rights to women and children, there must be bigger steps and more practical changes. That is what we are asking for. We are not saying that they have not moved—they are, in a way, a beacon for other countries in the region—but we need to highlight issues where human rights abuses have taken place.