Brussels, December 17th 2012
Statement on planning to visit Bahrain
A delegation of Members of the European Parliament has been preparing to visit Bahrain this week with a program focused on human rights. The Parliament is normally represented by MEP´s from the main different political groups, to represent the diverse spectrum of Europeans and political parties. I was scheduled to travel representing the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, the third largest political group in the European Parliament.
With flights for the trip departing tomorrow, and without a visa granted, I am unable to travel. This morning I went to the Bahraini representation in Brussels myself, but learned that contrary to other MEP´s travelling, for me no authorisation had been granted. (In my career as an MEP, I have never experienced such protocol practices, except when dealing with the Islamic Republic of Iran).
This is much to my regret. In the European Parliament I have worked on Bahrain intensively, and I would have much welcomed the opportunity to see the situation in the country with my own eyes. Furthermore, I welcome the opportunity to meet and engage in direct conversations with different Bahraini, to learn more about the country and the political situation.
In the European Parliament I have met with many Bahraini, or people involved with the country, representing views across the political spectrum. Recently I hosted an open roundtable about human rights in Bahrain. (Any allegations that people were refused to participate are false, a representative of the Bahraini Embassy in Brussels participated herself).
Hopefully there will be an opportunity for me to visit Bahrain in the future. Until then I continue to be committed to working to highlight the human rights situation and to push for the EU to take a constructive role to that end.