Biden Urged to Conduct ‘Thorough Review’ of US Policy Towards Bahrain
Middle East Monitor
(January 22, 2021) — Joe Biden has been urged to “immediately” review American policy towards Bahrain in a letter calling on the newly elected president to consider relocating the US Fifth Fleet from the Kingdom because of its ongoing human rights violations including allegations of torture and arbitrary detention of political prisoners.
The letter sent on the day of President Biden’s inauguration was sent by Husain Abdulla, executive director of Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB). He is originally from the Gulf Kingdom but his Bahraini citizenship was revoked due to his human rights activism. He leads ADHRB’s efforts to ensure that US policies support the democracy and human rights movement in Bahrain.
In his letter to Biden Abdulla warns that the “political instability created within Bahrain by the systematic, violent, and unceasing repression of its people is also a direct threat to US security interests in the Persian Gulf Region and globally.”
Citing reports of a number of human rights groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, Abdulla presented details of the human rights violations perpetrated by the Government of Bahrain which he said are “undisputed.”
Thousands of individuals are said to have been arrested, imprisoned and executed. Hundreds more have had their citizenship revoked and thousands of political prisoners are languishing in Bahraini prisons.
Abdulla also mentioned a report by the US State Department about the level of repression in the Kingdom, which he said documented a litany of abuses by the Government of Bahrain, including allegations of torture, arbitrary detention, political prisoners, and restrictions on freedom of expression and political participation.
Accusing the US of “turning a blind eye” to the repression due to “mutual benefits” such as Bahrain’s housing of the US Fifth Fleet, Abdulla warned that America’s current approach is building “untenable security risks into the relationship for the US.”
Insisting that the security of both countries was at stake, Abdullah said that “the US should immediately begin to develop policies and programmes focused on holding officials of the Government of Bahrain accountable for their systematic human rights violations against the people of Bahrain.”
Biden was urged to “conduct a thorough review of US policy and develop and implement a set of policies and programmes toward Bahrain targeted at better achieving sustainable US interests in both human rights and security.
A New Path out of Bahrain: A Webinar on February 12
CODEPINK, World BEYOND War, Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain
(February 3, 2021) — Ten years after the Bahraini government violently cracked down on mass pro-democracy protests in February 2011, the country remains riven by levels of unrest, political crisis, and human rights violations. Bahrainis continue to protest and demonstrate almost nightly, continuing their calls for greater political and economic freedoms as well as greater respect for human, civil, and political rights.
The government continues to meet these demonstrations with force and violence, arresting dissidents and critics, and filling jails with peaceful protesters. These moves by the government have not led to sustainable peace, but have helped fuel dissatisfaction among many.
After four years of the Trump administration’s total disregard for human rights in US policy toward Bahrain, this panel will discuss what steps Congress and Biden’s administration should take to address the ongoing crisis in Bahrain. The panel will address the efforts to release political prisoners and end the culture of impunity in the country. In addition, the panel will address ways to pressure the Biden administration to end US military support for the Bahraini government.
David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is executive director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson’s books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, and was awarded the 2018 Peace Prize by the US Peace Memorial Foundation.
Husain Abdulla, originally from Bahrain, is the founder and Executive Director of Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain. As Executive Director, Husain leads the organization’s efforts to ensure that US policies support the democracy and human rights movement in Bahrain. Husain also works closely with members of the Bahraini-American community to ensure that their voices are heard by US government officials and the broader American public.
In 2012, the Government of Bahrain revoked Husain’s Bahraini citizenship in retaliation for his peaceful advocacy for the respect for human rights in his home country. Husain holds a Master’s degree in Political Science and International Relations from the University of West Florida and a BA in Political Science and Mathematics from the University of South Alabama.
Ali Mushaima, a political activist based in London, is the son of Hassan Mushaima. Hasan Mushaima is an opposition leader in Bahrain and the secretary-general of the Haq Movement, an important opposition party in Bahrain. Before forming Haq, he was a founding member of Al Wefaq and a leading figure in the 1994 uprising in Bahrain. He has campaigned for more democratic rights in Bahrain, and has been in prison in Bahrain since his arrest in 2011.
His son, Ali Mushaima is stateless as the Bahraini authorities revoked his citizenship and sentenced him in absentia to 45 years in prison. He has carried out a hunger strike in order to save his father who has severe medical conditions for which Bahraini authorities continue to deny adequate treatment. Unable to return to Bahrain, he carries out his political activism in London in order to raise awareness of his father’s condition and the human rights abuses that political prisoners are currently enduring.
In 2018, he wrote a letter to the Queen, urging her to use her influence and friendship with King Hamad to help his cause. May 2019, Ali Mushaima wrote an article for the Guardian, titled “I’m fasting in protest outside Royal Windsor Horse Show to save my father in Bahrain” and in which he pointed out that while the Queen welcomes King Hamad to the event, the UK is turning a blind eye to the slow murder of political prisoners.
Medea Benjamin is co-founder of the women-led peace group CODEPINK and the co-founder of the human rights group Global Exchange. She is a member of World BEYOND War’s Advisory Board. She has been an advocate for social justice for more than 40 years.
Described as “one of America’s most committed — and most effective — fighters for human rights” by New York Newsday, and “one of the high profile leaders of the peace movement” by the Los Angeles Times, she was one of 1,000 exemplary women from 140 countries nominated to receive the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the millions of women who do the essential work of peace worldwide. She is the author of ten books, including Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control and Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the US-Saudi Connection.
Barbara Wien has worked to stop human rights abuses, violence, and war, since she was 21. She has protected civilians from death squads using cutting-edge peacekeeping methods, and trained hundreds of Foreign Service officers, UN officials, humanitarian workers, police forces, soldiers, and grassroots leaders to de-escalate violence and armed conflicts.
She is the author of 22 articles, chapters, and books, including Peace and World Security Studies, a pioneering curriculum guide for university professors, now in its 7th edition. She has designed and taught countless peace seminars and trainings in 58 countries to end war. She is a nonviolence trainer, curriculum expert, educator, public speaker, scholar and mother of two.
Questions and Answers:
Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions of the panelists.
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