For Immediate Release: September 23, 2011
Washington, DC –The United States Government must break its silence on Bahrain and condemn today’s ongoing violent attacks on peaceful protestors, said Human Rights First.
According to the organization, reports of demonstrators being attacked by riot police using tear gas and birdshot are coming in from many parts of the country. Information from on the ground in Bahrain has confirmed that pro-democracy protestors are being attacked by the police in locations all over the country and, since hospitals and medical facilities remain under military control, injured protestors are forced to seek treatment in makeshift centers or private homes. They fear arrest and torture if they go to the hospital.
“Just this week before the United Nations, President Obama praised those whose fearless fight led to the Arab Spring – including pro-democracy activists in Syria and Egypt, in Libya and Tunisia. His mention of Bahrain failed to criticize the violent government crackdown or commend the protestors. This double standard undermines US credibility in the Gulf and across the Middle East. While this crisis continues, the administration and Congress should not proceed with proposed new arms sales of TOW missiles and Humvees to Bahrain,” said Human Rights First’s Brian Dooley.
He added, “The United States Government should condemn now, today, the violence used to suppress the peaceful protests and call for injured protestors to be treated in medical facilities without fear of arrest or torture.”
According to Dooley, continued U.S. silence on Bahrain damages the Obama Administration’s reputation and its ability to push for regional stability based on democracy. He concludes, “Supporting brutal Middle East dictators – as the U.S. Government must know by now - only invites chaos and human rights abuses. Today, this administration needs to get on the right side of history in Bahrain.”