As a Government Whip, I do not, by convention, sign any Early Day Motions, as doing so is likely to breach the Ministerial Code’s rules on collective responsibility. However, I appreciate your concerns and depth of feeling on this issue. Human rights and democracy are fundamental to the values the UK champions on the world stage. That is why Bahrain is one of 31 human rights priority countries for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).
The UK has been providing a range of technical and practical assistance to the Government of Bahrain since 2013, including work to bring about improvements in the robustness of their oversight bodies. I believe that working together in this way offers the best opportunity to see the positive changes which the Government of Bahrain has committed to implementing.
The most recent FCDO assessment of human rights in Bahrain welcomed the progress made on certain issues, such as modern slavery and their response to COVID-19 including access to medical facilities for prisoners. Nevertheless issues of concern remain, such as on the continued use of the death penalty – which the UK opposes in all countries and circumstances as a matter of principle – and on freedom of expression and media freedom.
HM Government regularly raises human rights issues with the Government of Bahrain, including at a ministerial level. I am assured that it will continue to encourage the principles of good government and human rights to be upheld in Bahrain.
Craig Whittaker MP,