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Baldwin Joins Bipartisan Group Urging Biden to Press Bahrain on Human Rights Violations

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin this week joined a bipartisan group of Senators in urging Secretary of State Antony Blinken to press Bahrain about their human rights abuses and pushing for more accountability.

Joining Baldwin on the letter were Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.

“For the past decade, the State Department and major human rights advocates have detailed a long list of serious and ongoing human rights abuses in Bahrain. These include, but are not limited to: arbitrary detention, torture, cruel and degrading treatment of prisoners, restrictions on freedom of the press, interference with peaceful assembly, and restrictions on political participation and religious practice. Recent reports by Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain and other organizations indicate that this disturbing record has grown worse since 2011, when Bahrainis took to the streets in peaceful protest and were met with violence,” the senators wrote.

The senators asked Secretary Blinken to answer the following questions to help understand the Biden administration’s policy to improve the situation in Bahrain:

  • What actions have you taken to raise the government of Bahrain’s systemic human rights violations against its own citizens?  What has been the response?
  • Have you raised concerns about the continued imprisonment of opposition leaders with the government of Bahrain?  If so, what has been the response?
  • Have you pushed the government of Bahrain to release critics and opposition leaders like Naji Fateel and Hasan Mushaima?
  • Have you considered the government of Bahrain’s continued repression and human rights abuses when evaluating sales of defense articles and services to Bahrain?
  • Have you considered Global Magnitsky Act authority or other sanctions authorities against members of the government of Bahrain responsible for serious human rights violations?

“Bahrainis continue to call for agency and accountability, often at great risk to their safety and that of their families. We stand with them in urging you and the Biden-Harris administration to promote reform and respect for basic human rights in Bahrain and greater stability in the region,” the senators concluded. 

A copy of the full letter is available here.