Biden signs legislation for US State Dept. accounting on Bahraini political prisoners
The move comes as the thirst for oil forces the US to raise abuses it had chosen to neglect until this very moment in Bahrain, in pursuit of oil concessions.
The Bahraini regime has long been committing flagrant human rights violations under US impunity. However, US President Joe Biden has just signed legislation requiring the US State Department to account for its efforts to free political prisoners in Bahrain.
"Not later than 60 days after the enactment of the Act, the Secretary of State shall submit a report to the Committees on Appropriations, which may be in classified form if necessary, detailing efforts made on behalf of political prisoners in Bahrain and the Government of Bahrain's response," according to the Statement accompanying the Fiscal Year 2022 Consolidated Appropriations Act. The Act received bipartisan support.
The Senate Appropriations Committee requested the report in the first place. The House Appropriations Committee included language encouraging "the Department of State to prioritize working with the Government of Bahrain to make meaningful progress toward establishing democratic institutions and holding accountable those responsible for human rights violations, including those in the armed forces and Ministry of Interior."
The report is scheduled to be released no later than May 15, 2022.
The move comes as the oil thirst is forcing the US to raise abuses it had previously chosen to ignore in the Gulf state, including arbitrary detention and torture, in order to force Bahrain, like other oil-exporting countries, to grant oil concessions to the United States.
It is worth mentioning that Independent human rights monitors and the US State Department have long documented a long list of egregious human rights violations and anti-democratic practices by the Bahraini government.
Opposition political leaders in Bahrain are imprisoned, opposition parties have been banned, the free media has been shut down, freedom of expression and assembly – including online expressions like Twitter – has been severely restricted, and candidates must be approved by the government. Torture and arbitrary detention are also widespread.