Congressman James P. McGovern (D-MA) denounced the Bahraini government's use of force to prevent Bahrainis from assembling yesterday in commemoration of the one-year anniversary of the outbreak of major demonstrations in Bahrain.
Bahraini security forces yesterday used tear gas, armored personnel carriers, and other forceful means to block Bahrainis from gathering in public spaces and expressing their political views. These actions are inconsistent with the fundamental human rights to assemble peaceably and express one's views.
Congressman McGovern also expressed disappointment at the use of violence by some protesters. Such uses of violence take attention away from the peaceful actions of most demonstrators and give security forces an excuse to act even more harshly.
Congressman McGovern urged the Bahraini government to now make substantial and lasting reforms to allow greater freedom and rectify human rights abuses in Bahrain. The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry issued its final report three months ago. The Bahraini government should fully implement all of the commission's recommendations without delay.
"Rather than continuing to block and punish peaceful political expression, the Bahraini government should act immediately to end human rights abuses and give greater voice to all of Bahrain's citizens," said Congressman McGovern. "Bahrain will be a stronger country when the rights of all of its citizens are fully respected."
Congressman McGovern is Co-Chairman of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission.