Today the State Department released its annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. PHR applauds Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Michael Posner, and the staff of the State Department for their tireless work in producing these reports, which catalog a number of human rights violations in nearly 200 countries during 2011.
Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN) introduced today an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that restricts the sale of tear gas and riot control items to Middle East and North Africa countries undergoing a transition to democracy. The amendment, which successfully passed the US House of Representatives, requires the Secretary of Defense to certify to the House and Senate Armed Services Committees that the security forces of such governments are not using excessive force to repress peaceful protesters before such items would be provided.
Following the final day of the trial for 20 Bahraini medical professionals who were convicted of charges including occupying a hospital and attempting to overthrow the government, PHR today called for the court to expunge all politically motivated charges.
PHR applauds President Obama for publicly expressing his concern for the well-being of Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, a detained Bahraini human rights defender who has been on a hunger strike for the past two months.
Syria’s failure to withdraw troops from urban areas this morning was a disappointment. The country had agreed to a withdrawal under a United Nations-brokered ceasefire. Rather than abide by its commitment, the Government of Syria has instead continued to attack civilians after the deadline.