Bahrain: Foreign Relations

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written question – answered on 24th September 2020.

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Photo of Lord Collins of Highbury Lord Collins of Highbury Opposition Whip (Lords), Shadow Spokesperson (Equalities and Women's Issues), Shadow Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and International Development)

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the meeting that took place between Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Ministers and the Bahraini Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 7 September, whether they discussed (1) the cases of death row inmates and torture victims Mohammed Ramadhan and Husain Moosa, (2) political prisoners in Bahrain, (3) medical negligence in Bahraini prisons, (4) prison conditions in Bahrain, and (5) the UK’s technical assistance programme to Bahrain.

Photo of Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

I raised the cases of Mohammed Ramadhan and Husain Moosa during my recent meeting with Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani. The Minister for the Middle East and I raised the use of the death penalty in Bahrain with the Foreign Minister, reiterating that the UK opposes the death penalty, in all circumstances, as a matter of principle. The UK also provides technical assistance in support of Bahrain's ongoing reform agenda. Any technical assistance we provide is kept under regular review to ensure compliance with our human rights obligations and the Overseas Security and Justice Assistance process

The Government of Bahrain has made clear that access to appropriate medical care for those in detention continues to be guaranteed, which means under normal circumstances that any prisoner wishing to see a doctor is taken to the prison clinic, with referral to specialist facilities where required; but that as part of Bahrain's COVID-19 precautions, all initial medical consultations now take place via video calls. Where necessary, physical appointments with external medical specialists continue to be available, although, in line with guidance issued by the World Health Organization, prisoners seeing external specialists are required to isolate for 10 days in a separate detention facility before returning to prison ensuring the safety of both patients and medical staff. We welcome these assurances from the Government of Bahrain, urge continued transparency and would encourage those with any concerns about treatment in detention to raise them with the appropriate Bahraini human rights oversight body.

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