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FCO Update Report Details Concerning Issues in Bahrain, Urges Political Representation for All Bahrainis.

2016-07-23 - 11:38 p

Bahrain Mirror: The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office said that there is still significant work to be done by the Bahrain government in its programme of socio-economic reform which, "with full implementation, will strengthen community cohesion, human rights and the rule of law."

This came in the FCO's Human Rights Priority Country update report: January to June 2016, on the Kingdom of Bahrain (updated 21 July 2016).

The report highlighted that the UK government has raised a number of recent cases of concern with the government of Bahrain, including: the suspension of the main Shia opposition political society in Bahrain, Al Wefaq; the extension of Al Wefaq Secretary-General Sheikh Ali Salman's prison sentence from 4 to 9 years; the arrest of prominent Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab in relation to tweets last year; the prevention of a group of Bahraini human rights activists from travelling to Geneva for events at the UN Human Rights Council; and the announced revocation of citizenship of Bahraini Shia cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim.

The UK also urged the government of Bahrain to guarantee and protect political freedoms for all its citizens, and stressed the need for all sides to engage in constructive and inclusive dialogue to promote social cohesion and inclusivity, including political representation for all Bahrainis.

"We continued to encourage Bahrain to live up to its international human rights obligations, including in relation to the rights of the child, where work is underway to increase the age of criminal responsibility in line with international standards," the report further stated.

"The UK continued to work closely with the government of Bahrain to encourage progress on human rights, which included focusing on building effective and accountable institutions, strengthening the rule of law, and police and justice reform," it noted, adding that "The UK government also continued to work with civil society organisations - focusing on responsible freedom of expression and social inclusion - to encourage moderate voices to take a greater role within civil society."

"We have consistently raised our concerns about the protection of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly with the Bahraini government, including during the Foreign Secretary's visit to Bahrain on 30 May," stressed the FCO report.

The report further said that the UK continued to raise concerns over the death penalty, particularly after the Court of Appeal upheld the death sentences for three defendants who were found guilty of killing an Emirati police inspector and 2 police officers in May 2014.

Tags: Human Rights, Bahrain Children, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Human Rights Council, Nabeel Rajab Arrest, Sheikh Ali Salman Trial, Dissolving Al-Wefaq, Al-Wefaq Suspension, Revocation of Sheikh Isa Qassim's Citizenship, Travel Ban

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