November 23, 2011

Wyden, McGovern Statement on Release of Bahraini Human Rights Report

Washington, D.C. Reaffirming their opposition to the sale of arms to the Kingdom of Bahrain until sustaining human rights improvements are made, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and U.S. Representative Jim McGovern (D-Mass) released the following statement on the Bahrain Independent Commission’s report on human rights:

“The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry’s (BICI) report confirms accounts from human rights groups and Bahrainis who have spoken out against the abuses of this year.  It is clear that the regime fostered a culture of terror and violently suppressed peaceful political protestors.

We are heartened to hear that the King has agreed to make changes in response to the report.  However, these changes must be lasting and significant.  

We certainly hope that the King and his government will immediately accept the BICI’s recommendations.  We also hope that the regime makes more general changes to give all the people of Bahrain an equal voice in government.

The people of Bahrain are unlikely to stop pushing for freedom, equal opportunity, and representative government.  This may require a gradual transition, but that transition must begin or the country of Bahrain, and potentially the entire region, could continue to be rocked by instability.

As we’ve stated before, rewarding regimes that violently suppress peaceful civil dissent and violate human rights with multi-million dollar arms sale is inconsistent with American values and interests.  Therefore, we believe it would be inappropriate for the U.S. to finalize the arms sale until we see significant and tangible progress in Bahrain.”