With the first anniversary of the popular uprising, and subsequent suppression, in Bahrain fast approaching, a number of human rights organizations are asking a dreaded question: What happens if there's another crackdown, and not enough international organizations are there to witness it?
Over the weekend, the US administration chose to move forward with the sale of military equipment to Bahrain, despite the fact that tear gas assaults on minority Shi’a neighborhoods recently took the life of a 6-day-old girl and a 14-year-old boy. Such a sale, even if it does not include weapons, sends the wrong message to the people of Bahrain who are protesting government oppression.
A 19-year old Bahraini protester has died in the hospital while in custody. According to Bahraini police, he died as a result of chronic disease, but opposition groups argue that the detainee was injured in a protest, then detained and tortured. In light of the continued abuses of the Bahraini government, PHR is calling for the US government to hold fast to its decision to delay sales of military equipment to Bahrain.
The Bahraini government has continued its violent crackdown on opposition groups, firing tear gas and stun grenades at protestors and torturing anti-government activists. PHR reports have demonstrated that doctors and nurses who have born witness to violent government actions have been targeted for persecution and torture.
The Bahraini government's recent refusal to allow Richard Sollom, deputy director of PHR, to enter the country is a sign that the country has not kept its promises. The king has claimed that he is eager for dialogue, but by refusing to allow Sollom and other human rights investigators to enter Bahrain, he has shown that his pledges were empty words.