Sending Office: Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission
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Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission Briefing

Bahrain Seven Years Later

Friday, February 16, 2018
10:00 – 11:00 AM
2200 Rayburn House Office Building

Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a briefing on the human rights situation in Bahrain on the seventh anniversary of its pro-democracy uprising.

Bahrain, host of the headquarters of the United States 5th Fleet, is a majority Shia country ruled by a Sunni monarchy. In February 2011, citizens rose up to protest state corruption, security force abuses, a dysfunctional justice system, and
the lack of democracy. The government reacted by arresting, jailing and torturing protestors, including medical personnel. Some people were killed and eventually hundreds were convicted of political charges linked to the protests, including opposition leaders
who received life sentences for terrorism. After the fact, the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) investigated and issued a report with modest recommendations for reforms that were accepted by the government and became a point of reference for
constructive change.

Seven years later, the BICI recommendations have not been fully implemented, and some changes that had been achieved have been rolled back – in particular, in October 2017 Bahrain resumed the practice of trying civilians in military courts. The major opposition
political parties have been outlawed, hundreds of people have been stripped of their citizenship, and a conflict that was originally political has become increasingly sectarian. Restrictions on arms transfers imposed by the Obama administration have been lifted
by President Trump, as the Bahraini government has increasingly sought to link its internal opposition to Iran.

Panelists will provide a comprehensive update on the current human rights situation, the prospects for democratic reforms and the implications for security and stability in the region.


  • Husain Abdulla, Executive Director, Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain
  • Maryam al-Khawaja, Human Rights Defender and Independent Consultant, Gulf Center for Human Rights
  • Sarah Margon, Washington Director, Human Rights Watch
  • Dwight Bashir, Director of Policy and Research, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom
  • Andrew Miller, Deputy Director for Policy, Project on Middle East Democracy


  • Brian Dooley, Senior Advisor, Human Rights First

This briefing will be open to Members of Congress, congressional staff, the interested public, and the media. For any questions, please contact Kimberly Stanton at 202-225-3599 or (for Rep. McGovern) or Matthew Singer at 202-226-3989 or (for Rep. Hultgren).



James P. McGovern, M.C.                              Randy Hultgren, M.C.
Co-Chair, TLHRC                                          Co-Chair, TLHRC

Related Legislative Issues
Selected legislative information: Civil Rights, Foreign Affairs
Related Event Information
Event Location: 2200 Rayburn House Office Building
Event Start: 2/16/2018 10:00:00 AM
Event End: 2/16/2018 11:00:00 AM
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