HRW: US Senates Should Not Approve Arms Sales to Bahrain

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Al-Thawra Net

The United States Senate should not approve two proposed arms sales totaling nearly US$1 billion to Bahrain given its government’s dismal record on human rights and relentless persecution of dissidents, Human Right Watch (HRW) said on Friday.

The proposed arms sales, already approved by the US State Department, come amid Bahrain’s continued participation in the Saudi-led coalition against Yemen that has contributed to one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

“These two weapons sales make clear that the Trump administration intends nothing short of a free pass on human rights for Bahrain” said Sarah Margon, Washington director at Human Rights Watch.

“The US Senate should block all arms sales to Bahrain until, at a minimum, they release all unjustly imprisoned human rights defenders and dissidents, and make clear that a key US ally should not continue in such mass human rights abuses,” she added.

The Saudi-led coalition since 2015 conducted thousands of airstrikes in Yemen – including scores that appear to violate the laws of war – contributing to one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

The coalition has failed to credibly investigate potential war crimes, and coalition members, including Bahrain, have provided insufficient or no information about their role in alleged unlawful attacks.

Available information shows that Bahrain has participated in the military campaign. In March 2015, the Emirati State news agency reported that Bahrain had deployed 15 aircraft to take part in coalition operations and, in December 2015, a Bahraini F-16 jet carrying out coalition operations crashed in Saudi Arabia, the coalition said in a statement.