May 31, 2011
U.S. Government Must Press Bahraini Authorities to Protect Human Rights Defenders
Bahrain must prove itself ready to host Grand PrixWashington, D.C.—The U.S. Government should publicly call on the Bahraini authorities to protect human rights defenders when the national emergency laws are lifted in Bahrain tomorrow, said Human Rights First today. “For several months Bahrain’s authorities have attacked and harassed human rights defenders, preventing them from carrying out their peaceful work to promote human rights,” said Brian Dooley of Human Rights First. “They have been arrested, beaten, and labeled as terrorists. Their homes have been attacked and they have been prevented from leaving the country.” A new wave of protests is anticipated when Bahrain’s State of Safety is lifted tomorrow, and the U.S Government should publicly declare its support for human rights defenders and others who want to peacefully exercise their human rights. Tomorrow will be a test for the Bahrain government, which has cracked down brutally on dissent over the last few months. The U.S. Government should be specific and clear in calling on the authorities not to attack peaceful demonstrators and to protect and support the work of human rights defenders. A decision from the Grand Prix authorities on whether Bahrain will be allowed to host a grand prix race later in 2011 is expected on Friday June 3. “Bahrain is being watched to see how it reacts to protests in the coming days. If it is unable to respect and protect basic rights of freedoms of assembly and expression it’s hard to see how it is capable of hosting a major international sporting event,” said Dooley.