US President Donald Trump will host the Crown Prince of Bahrain, Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, at the White House during the week of September 16, 2019. Among the topics slated to be discussed are Iran and security in the Persian Gulf.
The United States maintains close relations with Bahrain and sells weapons worth billions of dollars to its government, despite Bahrain’s disastrous human rights record. When American officials, including President Trump himself, have met with the Bahraini government in the past, they have failed to raise objections about human rights violations, which are inseparable from America’s core interest in a secure and stable Bahrain.
As Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB)’s Executive Director Husain Abdulla and the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD)’s Advocacy Director Sayed Ahmed AlWadaei pointed out in the Washington Post after a November 2018 meeting between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, human rights concerns were ignored in favor of a discussion on finding a political solution in Yemen. Ironically, prominent Bahraini human rights defender Nabeel Rajab remains unlawfully imprisoned for raising similar concerns in Tweets years earlier.
The European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR) calls on the White House and President Trump to finally raise vital human rights concerns to Bahrain’s Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa during their upcoming meeting. Human rights should be considered a pillar of establishing security and stability in the region. ECDHR firmly believes that Bahrain’s human rights violations must not go unnoticed; the Kingdom of Bahrain must be urged take concrete measures to improve the human rights situation in the country.