ADHRB applauds the passage of an amendment sponsored by Senators Rubio and Wyden in the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2013 (NDAA) that would require the Secretaries of Defense and State to “report on the implementation by the Government of Bahrain of the recommendations contained in the Report of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry” (BICI).
Pursuant to the amendment, both agencies must assess whether each of the 26 recommendations made by the BICI have been fully complied with by the Government of Bahrain. The agencies must also assess the impact of the BICI’s findings regarding progress made toward democracy and human rights in Bahrain. ADHRB worked closely with Senate offices to prepare the amendment.
“The US Government is well aware of Bahrain’s failure to fully implement the BICI recommendations, said ADHRB Director Husain Abdulla. “The question is, will a full examination by the US Government into Bahrain’s lack of progress lead to a change in policy toward Bahrain? We believe it can, and we hope it will.”
ADHRB and other human rights organizations have, for months, been calling upon the Government of Bahrain to demonstrate a more serious commitment to its promise to fully implement the BICI recommendations. ADHRB has also called on the US Government to speak out more forcefully against what many organizations perceive to be a rapidly deteriorating human rights situation in Bahrain.
As noted in its report card on the status of implementation of the BICI report, ADHRB found only one recommendation to have been fully implemented in the year since the BICI report was released. The remaining 25 recommendations have either been only partially implemented, or not at all. Recent weeks have seen a further deterioration of progress, with citizenship being revoked for 31 Bahrainis, protests being banned, and medics and others continuing to face politically-motivated persecution.
“I am confident that measures such as this will lead the US Government to reassess its policies toward Bahrain,” said Abdulla. “Since the outbreak of protests nearly two years ago, the US has tiptoed around the question of what to do about Bahrain. Unfortunately, we’re starting to see a tense situation in Bahrain grow worse, and so I think the US is now reconciling with the fact that it’s going to have to answer that question sooner than later. Forcing an assessment of the human rights situation in Bahrain could, I think, help spur a change in policy by the US.”
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