Submission to UN Human Rights Council on Ireland's dealings in Bahrain
GLAN has sent a stakeholder's submission report to UN Human Rights Council ahead of Ireland's review in 2016. The submission highlights serious shortcomings in the public oversight of a Bahraini education program operated by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI). Documents obtained under Ireland's Freedom of Information Act suggest that allegations of torture and other ongoing human rights issues were effectively side-lined by Ireland's Medical Council when assessing Bahraini hospitals used by the Irish college.
Prior to the Medical Council's accreditation visit to Bahrain in 2014, local human rights organisations warned of the dangers for those who wish to speak out. Furthermore, one month prior to the Medical Council site visit, a patient was arrested for tweeting criticism about an RCSI-affiliated hospital. GLAN obtained a translation of Ghada Jamhseer's tweets before they were removed and her Twitter account deactivated. GLAN's submission also highlights that current hospital administrators in Bahrain have alleged links to the torture of medics following the 2011 crackdown on pro-reform protesters. Despite these conditions, and numerous other human rights concerns, RCSI-Bahrain received unconditional approval from the Irish Medical Council in December 2014.
GLAN is now calling on the UN Human Rights Council to recommend to the Irish authorities that accreditation should be made conditional on measures that address human rights violations associated with RCSI-affiliated hospitals. The submission also calls into question the Irish government's position that draws "a clear distinction between the wider human rights situation and the involvement of Irish institutions in the education and training of the Bahraini medical personnel".
Following a Freedom of Information request to the Irish Medical Council, minutes of meetings dealing with the accreditation of RCSI-Bahrain were intially withheld. GLAN lodged an appeal with Ireland's Information Commissioner, and the Medical Council released the minutes: