7-15-2011By Quinn O'Keefe
Senior Associate, Human Rights Defenders
Despite an ongoing national dialogue between the Bahraini government and some parts of civil society, the government continues to intimidate, torture, and detain human rights defenders, and shoot at civilians.
The United States has taken many positive steps in addressing human rights violations committed by the Bahraini government, which hosts the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, but more needs to be done as the crackdown on pro-democracy activists and their supporters continues.
Human Rights First went to Bahrain and spoke with a number of human rights defenders, torture survivors and recently released detainees. In a report released yesterday, we found that the situation on the ground remains dire and dangerous for human rights defenders and civilians. For a real national dialogue to occur, President Obama should insist upon the following benchmarks:
- End the continuing crackdown on pro-democracy activists and supporters and shootings at unarmed civilians, as witnessed by Human Rights First staff;
- End arbitrary detentions, torture and mistreatment of detainees;
- End sectarian violence and discrimination against the Shi’a community;
- Release of peaceful protestors from jail and drop all charges pending against them; and
- An end to the expulsion of students.
The continuing crackdown, growing sectarian divide and the puppet show of a national dialogue are preventing real reconciliation from occurring in Bahrain. People continue to live in fear of violence, detention and torture.
Thank you for taking action!