Why? Because since February of this year, the military, security and police forces of the prospective buyer — Bahrain — have used such weapons and military equipment to inflict deaths and injuries on protestors demanding greater political freedom.
Moving forward with this arms sale would provide more weapons and equipment to the very Bahraini security forces who have already shot protestors. It would also cross a clear line of U.S. responsibility to protect human rights.
That’s why right now members of Congress, led by Senator Ron Wyden and Representative Jim McGovern, are drawing a sharp line with a resolution aimed at blocking this arms sale.
Bahrain’s horrible record on human rights continues to this day. At the peak of the crackdown, President Obama condemned the “mass arrests and brute force” used by the Bahraini government.
So why is the State Department even considering selling Bahrain more weapons?
Fortunately, the U.S. State Department is showing some signs of responsiveness. Just last week, it agreed to delay the weapons sale until a commission in Bahrain finishes investigating the government’s human rights abuses.
This temporary delay gives us the space we need to break through with a larger message of protecting human rights in Bahrain.
Advocacy Director, Middle East & North Africa
Amnesty International USA