Andrew Smith – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Andrew Smith on 2016-01-26.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he is taking to advance democratic rights in Bahrain.

Mr Tobias Ellwood

Governance of Bahrain is a matter for all political parties in Bahrain. That is why we encourage all political parties, including Al Wefaq who boycotted elections in November 2014, to engage constructively in political dialogue in order to reach an inclusive political settlement. Although we were disappointed by the opposition’s decision to boycott the 2014 elections, we commended the participation of a broad range of candidates which saw 14 independent Shia candidates win seats, of which three were women.

We regularly discuss human rights and reform with the Government of Bahrain including at the biannual UK-Bahrain Joint Working Group meeting which was most recently held in November 2015. Reform programme activities delivered through the Causeway Institute have used lessons from Northern Ireland to improve community outreach and communication – particularly to a youth audience.