House Raises Concern over Bahrain Government’s Human Rights Abuses, Calls for State Department Report on Upcoming Bahrain Election

The House Appropriations Committee expressed deep concerns over ongoing human rights violations in Bahrain and required the US State Department to prepare a report detailing its actions to ensure free and fair parliamentary elections in Bahrain in November 2022.  The Committee’s actions were included in the Report to accompany the Fiscal Year 2023 State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Bill which was adopted by the full Appropriations Committee on June 29, 2022.

“The Committee makes clear that the human rights situation in Bahrain remains terrible and that there is serious concern that free and fair elections are not possible under these circumstances,” said Husain Abdulla, Executive Director of Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain.

“The Government of Bahrain continues its reign of terror over its own citizens. Opposition leaders are imprisoned, opposition political parties have been banned by the government, the free press has been closed, freedom of assembly and expression are very limited, and international observers and not welcome,” he added.

The Government of Bahrain will hold parliamentary elections in November 2022.  The last elections held in Bahrain, in 2018, were widely viewed as unfair and were boycotted by opposition groups.

The language adopted by the Committee reads:

Bahrain. –The Committee remains concerned with ongoing reports of the widespread violations of human rights, including the use of arbitrary detention, harsh prison conditions, restrictions on political participation, and severe limitations on freedom of expression, the press, and assembly.  The Committee urges the Department of State to prioritize working with the government of Bahrain to release political prisoners, provide detainees with due process of law, and ensure that parliamentary elections are free, fair and include the participation of political parties and independent media outlets. 

Bahrain. – Not later than 60 days after enactment of this act, the Secretary of State shall submit a report to the Committees on Appropriations detailing U.S. government actions taken to ensure that parliamentary elections in Bahrain are conducted according to international standards and respect for the free will of the people of Bahrain.

“During his confirmation hearing, US Ambassador Stephen Bondy promised members of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee that human rights in Bahrian were high on the US agenda and he would work hard to advance human rights in Bahrain. The US government’s actions leading up to the November parliamentary elections will be a strong indicator of whether his promise has been kept; whether he really has a commitment to human rights in Bahrain,” said Abdulla.  “The required report is an important accountability measure that should both encourage the Biden Administration to be more forceful toward Bahrain and guide congressional action on Bahrain going forward,” he added.

Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) fosters awareness of and support for democracy and human rights in Bahrain and the Middle East.