US arms sales to Manama concern Bahrain Center for Human Rights

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Bahrain
Monday, 27 July 2015

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) has expressed concern about a decision by Washington to remove a ban on arms sales to Manama, which continues a crackdown on pro-democracy protests.

“The US decision is a step backwards in the efforts to improve the human rights situation in Bahrain,” said Sayed Yousif al-Muhafdah, the vice president of the BCHR, in a statement issued on Saturday.

The United States imposed the ban on security assistance, including arms sales, to Bahrain in 2011, when the government’s crackdown on peaceful demonstrators left dozens dead and hundreds wounded or arrested.

On June 29, the US Department of State said Washington would resume its military aid to Bahrain due to what it claimed was progress on human rights issues in the kingdom.

“While we do not think that the human rights situation in Bahrain is adequate... we believe it is important to recognize that the government of Bahrain has made some meaningful progress on human rights reforms and reconciliation,” said State Department spokesman, John Kirby.

Commenting on Washington's announcement, the BCHR official pointed to the political overtones of the move by the US.

“After reporting serious human rights violations, and lack of reform, the US is giving Bahrain a green light to continue in the same direction by lifting the arms ban,” Muhafdah stated.

The BCHR called on the US in the statement “to stop supplying military aid and arms to Bahrain and to put pressure on the Bahraini government to fully reform and respect human rights.”

Human Rights Watch also strongly criticized the US decision, saying that the move by the administration of President Barack Obama will encourage what the group described as the Manama regime's “unrelenting repression” of pro-democracy protesters.

The rights group said the Al Khalifa regime has held no senior official accountable for the 2011 killing of peaceful protesters, with Sarah Margon, the Washington director of Human Rights Watch, saying, “Whatever the real reasons for reviving these arms sales, it’s clear that the decision has not been taken in the interest of the people of Bahrain.”

Since the beginning of the uprising in Bahrain in early 2011, the Al Khalifa regime has placed a brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protests. The ongoing crackdown has left scores of people dead.

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