Amnesty International – 2011-11-01 21:28:20
WASHINGTON (October 27, 2011) — The US State Department is coming under fire for considering a $53 million arms sale. â€¨â€¨
Why? Because since February of this year, the military, security and police forces of the prospective buyer — Bahrain — have used such weapons and military equipment to inflict deaths and injuries on protestors demanding greater political freedom. â€¨â€¨
The Bahraini armed forces have used tanks, armored vehicles, small arms and projectile weapons to inflict deaths and injuries on protestors demanding greater political freedom. Now the US Department of Defense has proposed selling even more military equipment to those same armed forces.
President Obama condemned the “mass arrests and brute force” by the Bahraini government. So why is the US Government proposing more military sales?
Moving forward with this arms sale would provide more weapons and equipment to the very Bahraini security forces who have already shot protestors. It would also cross a clear line of U.S. responsibility to protect human rights. â€¨â€¨
That’s why right now members of Congress, led by Senator Ron Wyden and Representative Jim McGovern, are drawing a sharp line with a resolution aimed at blocking this arms sale. â€¨â€¨
Urge your Senators and Representatives to join the call to stop the US arms sale to Bahrain!â€¨â€¨
Bahrain’s horrible record on human rights continues to this day. At the peak of the crackdown, President Obama condemned the “mass arrests and brute force” used by the Bahraini government. â€¨â€¨
So why is the State Department even considering selling Bahrain more weapons? â€¨â€¨
Fortunately, the US State Department is showing some signs of responsiveness. Just last week, it agreed to delay the weapons sale until a commission in Bahrain finishes investigating the government’s human rights abuses. â€¨â€¨
This temporary delay gives us the space we need to break through with a larger message of protecting human rights in Bahrain. â€¨â€¨
I am writing to urge you to cosponsor House Joint Resolution 80, sponsored by US Representative James McGovern, or Senate Joint Resolution 28, sponsored by Senator Ron Wyden. This legislation would suspend the proposed sale of US military equipment to the Bahraini government.
Since February of this year, the Bahraini armed forces have used tanks, armored vehicles, small arms and projectile weapons to inflict deaths and injuries on protestors demanding greater political freedom. Scores of additional protestors have faced flawed trials and heavy sentences before a military court. Despite this, the US Department of Defense has proposed selling even more military equipment to those same Bahraini armed forces.
President Obama has already condemned the “mass arrests and brute force” by the Bahraini government. I am extremely concerned that this proposed arms sale to Bahrain will contribute further to serious human rights violations if approved.
The UK, French, Spanish, and Belgian governments have already suspended related military and security sales to Bahrain. The US government should do the same. I urge you to cosponsor House Joint Resolution 80, or Senate Joint Resolution 28 and suspend this proposed sale.
In Solidarity, â€¨â€¨Sanjeev Beryâ€¨Advocacy Director, Middle East & North Africaâ€¨Amnesty International USA â€¨