HRW urges EU to press Arab monarchies on activists

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Bahrain
Saturday, 23 May 2015

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged the European Union to publicly call for an "immediate and unconditional" release of political activists imprisoned by the Arab monarchies of the Persian Gulf countries.

The call was made in a letter sent to EU foreign affairs head Federica Mogherini ahead of Sunday's [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council-EU ministerial meeting in Doha, the capital city of Qatar.

The New York-based group said on Friday that "hundreds" of dissidents have been imprisoned across the sheikdoms of the Persian Gulf region "for nothing more than exercising their rights to free expression and association".

The organization also noted that the human rights "situation continues to deteriorate" in certain countries, namely Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Bahrain.

The rights group called on the 28-member block to translate its commitment to human rights into concrete action. HRW also urged the EU to adopt a policy that could go beyond mere expressions of support for those unfairly imprisoned.

"Despite the EU's oft-stated commitment to human rights, it hasn't so much thrown its weight behind advocates of human rights in the Persian Gulf as nervously wagged its finger," the rights group said.

The developments come as United Nations and rights organizations have frequently condemned the Saudi, UAE and Bahraini governments for clamping down on dissidents.

The Manama regime has been severely criticized by rights groups for its harsh crackdown on anti-government protesters, which has claimed the lives of scores of people so far.

Since mid-February 2011, thousands of pro-democracy protesters have held numerous demonstrations in the streets of Bahrain, calling for the Al Khalifa royal family to relinquish power.

On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates invaded the country to assist the Bahraini government in its crackdown on peaceful protesters.

There have been numerous demonstrations in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province since February 2011, with protesters calling for the release of political prisoners and an end to discrimination against the Shia Muslims of Saudi Arabia.

Rating: 5 Read 1324 times Last modified on Saturday, 23 May 2015

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