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Thursday, September 7, 2017

Human Rights Report: UK, USA, emboldened the government of Bahrain that is committing unlawful killings, torture, and imprisonment of peaceful protesters

A new report published by Amnesty International today sheds light on the repressive tactics used by the Bahraini government over the past year to crush civil society and violently crack down on protests, leading to the deaths of six people, including one child.


‘No one can protect you’: Bahrain’s year of crushing dissent documents how, between June 2016 and June 2017, at least 169 government critics or their relatives were arrested, tortured, threatened or banned from travel by the authorities.

“Using an array of tools of repression, including harassment, arbitrary detention and torture, the government of Bahrain has managed to crush a formerly thriving civil society and reduced it to a few lone voices who still dare to speak out,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
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"The failure of the UK, USA and other countries that have leverage over Bahrain to speak out in the face of the disastrous decline in human rights in the country over the past year has effectively emboldened the government to intensify its endeavour to silence the few remaining voices of dissent"
    Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa

Woefully inadequate international response

Despite the worsening situation, and blatant human rights violations being perpetrated in Bahrain, most governments have remained silent or toned down their public criticism. Among them are the UK and USA, two countries with a particularly high level of influence in Bahrain.

    The failure of the UK, USA and other countries that have leverage over Bahrain to speak out in the face of the disastrous decline in human rights in the country over the past year has effectively emboldened the government to intensify its endeavour to silence the few remaining voices of dissent
    Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa



The UK has continued to praise Bahrain’s “progress on its reform agenda”, while its occasional comments on the human rights situation have been muted.

The USA had publicly criticized Bahrain during the Obama administration, announcing in September 2016 that sales to Bahrain of fighter jets would depend on “progress on human rights”. Since the election of President Donald Trump, however, there has been a noticeable shift. In March 2017 President Trump lifted the conditions on the sale of jets and, two months later, told Bahrain’s King Hamad “there won’t be strain with this administration”. Bahrain appears to have interpreted this statement as a green light to pursue its repression, violently crushing the Duraz protests just two days later.

“The failure of the UK, USA and other countries that have leverage over Bahrain to speak out in the face of the disastrous decline in human rights in the country over the past year has effectively emboldened the government to intensify its endeavour to silence the few remaining voices of dissent,” said Philip Luther.

“The outlook for human rights in Bahrain looks bleak if the authorities continue this crackdown unchecked. They should start by immediately reining in their security forces, releasing prisoners of conscience and allowing banned civil society organizations to operate again. They should also make sure that those who have been subjected to torture and other serious violations are delivered justice.

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