Arab NGOs urge EU to press for change in Bahrain

Publishing Date: 
Mon, 2012-09-17
Publisher: 
The Parliament.COM
<p>The EU is being urged to increase pressure for an end of human rights violations in Bahrain.</p> <p>The demand comes on the eve of a visit to Brussels by a group of NGOs from Arab countries.</p> <p>The NGOs says the EU has a "pivotal role" to play in the "drastically changed" political environment of the Arab world.</p>

The EU is being urged to increase pressure for an end of human rights violations in Bahrain.
The demand comes on the eve of a visit to Brussels by a group of NGOs from Arab countries.
The NGOs says the EU has a "pivotal role" to play in the "drastically changed" political environment of the Arab world.
 
The visit comes in the wake of recent condemnation by human-rights groups and Catherine Ashton, the EU's foreign-policy chief, at the sentences handed down against 20 men convicted for espionage and planning to oust Bahrain’s government.
 
The men led protests by Bahrain’s Shiite Muslims seeking a greater political voice in the Sunni-ruled Gulf kingdom.
 
One member of the delegation, Sharaf Al-Mosawi, who is from the Bahrain Transparency Society, said he will use the Brussels trip to urge the EU to "lobby for an end of human rights violations in Bahrain and to support civil society and human rights defenders".
 
The 'Arab NGO Network for Development' comprises human rights and development civil society organizations from seven Arab countries - Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, and Morocco.
 
On Tuesday, they will visit the EU institutions and take part in a one-day forum, including a roundtable discussion with Madeleine Majorenko, head of division with the European External Action Service and Angelo Baglio, head of unit in commission's directorate general for development and cooperation.
 
The aim of the week-long visit is to discuss policy reforms and the future of the relations between the EU and Arab countries.
 
Members of the delegation perceive that the quest for democratisation in Arab countries necessitate rethinking economic and social policies at the national level.
 
A delegation spokesman said they would call for a "rethinking" of cooperation and partnership between Arab countries and their partners, including the EU.
 
He pointed out that under the Lisbon treaty "policy coherence is an obligation for the EU, necessitating that all EU external policies must be in support of developing countries development needs".
 
Another member of the delegation, Abdeljelil Bedoui, from the Tunisian Economic and Social Rights Forum, said, "Peoples' revolutions in the Arab countries are not simply the result of corruption and lack of freedoms but are also the result of the failure of economic policies."
 
Abdel-Mawla Ismail, from the Egyptian Organisation for Collective Rights, said that trade agreements between the EU and Arab countries "should not be undertaken without a previous impact assessment on human rights, development, and biodiversity in the countries involved".
 
Further comment came from Allam Jarrar, of the Palestinian NGO Network, who said, "The Palestinian rights to democratic and development are central to development processes in the Arab region.
 
"But the lack of genuine constructive efforts on the Palestinian-Israeli peace process and the continued domination of the interests of security in dealing with the region contribute to undermining the credibility of EU policy."
 
Speaking ahead of the visit, he added, "The EU is invited to revise its cooperation and partnership relations with Israel, in order to reflect the principles of justice, rights, and peace that the EU had declared."