According to sources from Aljazeera, More than a dozen organizations and rights groups have written to President-elect Joe Biden of the United States, expressing their concerns about the worsening human rights situation in Bahrain and urging him to reform the foreign policy of his country.
In Wednesday’s joint letter, 18 organizations, including Freedom House, the International Press Institute and the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, highlighted many steps taken over the past decade by the government of the kingdom, including the prohibition of all opposition parties and the tenfold rise in death sentences since 2017.
“The 2011 Arab Spring uprising in Bahrain, which saw thousands peacefully protesting to demand democratic change, was violently and brutally suppressed by Bahrain’s Al-Khalifa regime, followed by the imposition of draconian measures in a barrage of human rights violations,” the letter said.
The signatories draw attention to the cases of unjustly detained political figures, activists and human rights defenders held in deplorable conditions of incarceration and systematically denied medical care.
They highlighted the significant weakness in the coronavirus pandemic of “ageing political leaders suffering underlying health conditions,” such as political opposition leader Hasan Mushaima.
The joint letter also highlights the expanded use of the death penalty in Bahrain, where 27 people, 25 of whom are “at imminent risk of execution,” are currently on death row.
The letter also called on Biden, who is due to take an oath next month, to restore the human rights requirements for any weapons sales or military assistance to Bahrain, and to take into account the US willingness to evacuate the Fifth Fleet if Bahrain continues to abuse its citizens’ human rights.
The signatories proposed that Biden’s administration seek to secure the release of all political opposition leaders imprisoned and to ensure compensation and justice for victims of government abuses in Bahrain.
In 2011, across the region, a Shia-led opposition staged protests demanding reforms in the Sunni-led kingdom.
Bahrain has also accused Iran of stoking the country’s instability, a claim Tehran denies.