Congressman McGovern: U.S. Renewal of Military Aid to Bahrain a Dangerous Step Backward for Human Rights
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jim McGovern (MA-02), a senior House Democrat, released the following statement on the announcement by the U.S. State Department that the U.S. will renew military aid to Bahrain.
“Today's action by the Administration to renew foreign military sales to Bahrain is a dangerous step backward for human rights.
“If the U.S. is truly committed to regional stability, we must push our allies to embrace policies that will strengthen free societies, not silence entire segments of their population. This is the only way to combat extremism.
“Last week's release of Ibrahim Sharif and other political prisoners is an important step, but Bahrain must do more to respect the basic human rights of its Shi’a majority and Sunni critics. As long as Bahrain continues to unjustly imprison its own citizens, any commitment to human rights remains an empty promise.
“Allowing Bahrain to continue to exclude its Shi’a citizens and Sunni activists will only increase the risk of civil unrest, leaving them vulnerable to extremists in the region. Bahrain must respect the basic human rights and dignity of all its citizens, including the right to participate freely and fully in civil and political life.
“The renewal of U.S. military aid sadly demonstrates, once again, how so-called national security interests continue to trump human rights. If America is truly committed to supporting open and democratic societies, it must hold Bahrain accountable.”
As co-chair of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, Congressman McGovern has been a leading champion of policies that promote human rights and democratic societies around the world.