Kerry Urged to Raise Access Issues with Bahraini Crown Prince
Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First urges Secretary of State John Kerry to raise the issue of foreign access when he meets with the Crown Prince of Bahrain this afternoon. Since the Bahraini uprising began in 2011, the Kingdom has routinely denied access to outside NGOs, U.S.-based observers, and U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez, whose scheduled May 2013 trip was postponed indefinitely.
“One year after the United States agreed to sell millions of dollars of arms to the Bahraini regime, we have seen little progress in the country on improving its human rights record,” said Human Rights First’s Brian Dooley. “It has been several months since any foreign NGO has been allowed into the country, which only suggests that the government has something to hide. Secretary Kerry should not miss the opportunity to press the Crown Prince on allowing in independent human rights observers.”
Bahrain is home to the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, making it a key ally in the region. As part of Secretary Kerry’s conversation with Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, he should make clear that the United States’ relationship with Bahrain is not unconditional, and the future of the Fifth Fleet should be part of the conversation.
Dooley is the author of four reports about the ongoing crackdown, and has been denied entry to Bahrain several times. He has not been allowed to visit since March 2012.