Bahrain Suspension of National Dialogue Provides Opportunity for Real Reconciliation
Washington, D.C. – Following today’s news that the Bahraini government is suspending the National Dialogue reconciliation talks, Human Rights First’s Brian Dooley issued the following statement:
“The suspension of the National Dialogue in Bahrain should serve a starting point for real negotiations with the opposition movement. The National Dialogue, which excluded key imprisoned opposition leaders, was unable to provide solutions to Bahrain’s human rights crisis. It is time for real political talks involving these activists who are currently in prison.
“In May 2011 President Obama stated that the Bahrain government ‘can’t have a real dialogue when parts of the peaceful opposition are in jail.’ That was true then and it is true now. If Bahrain is serious about reform it needs to put an end to cosmetic talks and begin genuine negotiations.
“The suspension of the National Dialogue talks provides an opportunity for the United States and other international governments to pressure the Bahraini government to pursue alternative models to produce meaningful reforms. Bahrain’s political polarization and vulnerable economy indicate an urgent need for a solution to the crisis. The U.S. government should make clear to Bahrain that if the country is to avoid further instability it should immediately free its political prisoners and open real talks.”