PHR is once again concerned about an escalation of violence and the use of toxic chemical agents against protesters in Bahrain. Our 2012 report documents the Bahrain government’s indiscriminate use of tear gas as a weapon.
The US Administration should support fundamental freedoms in Bahrain and join 27 member states of the United Nations Human Rights Council in signing a principled statement regarding the ongoing human rights violations in Bahrain.
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.
In February 2011, the Government of Bahrain began targeting health professionals who treated protesters. In April 2012, PHR's Richard Sollom, Deputy Director, and Holly Atkinson, MD, FACP, past President of PHR's Board and volunteer expert, authored a report showing the devastation on Bahrain's health system that have resulted from the Government of Bahrain’s continued assault on doctors, patients, and the healthcare system.
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.