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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Bahrain: Repression and the Consequences for Reconciliation

Thursday, February 11, 2016 - 11:00am
902 Hart Senate Office Building


On the fifth anniversary of the pro-democracy uprising in Bahrain, please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for an update on the country’s human rights situation.

In February of 2011, citizens of Bahrain, a major ally of the United States and host of the headquarters of the US 5th Fleet, rose up in protest against their government. Their grievances were familiar –corruption, security force abuses, a dysfunctional justice system, and the lack of democracy. The response was unfortunately typical of the region: protestors, including medical personnel, were arrested, jailed and tortured; some were killed; and ultimately hundreds of people were convicted of political charges related to the peaceful exercise of their rights, including opposition leaders who received life sentences for terrorism. After the fact, the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) investigated and issued a report whose recommendations became a point of reference for constructive change, although to date, full implementation remains elusive.  

The briefing will examine the evolution of repression in Bahrain over the five years since the uprising, and its effect on opportunities for reconciliation in the country. Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain will present a brief white paper documenting the pattern of repression in the Bahraini criminal justice system, based on 495 interviews with victims. Other panelists will discuss the on-the-ground situation in Bahrain and share recommendations as to how the United States can encourage and support much needed reform, in order to advance stability and security in the region.

The briefing will be open to members of Congress, congressional staff, the interested public and the media. For any questions, please contact Kimberly Stanton (for Rep. McGovern) at 202-225-3599 or, or Isaac Six (for Rep. Pitts) at 202-225-2411 or

Hosted by:

James P. McGovern, M.C.
Co-Chairman, TLHRC
Joseph R. Pitts, M.C.
Co-Chairman, TLHRC


Opening Remarks

  • Rep. James P. McGovern, Co-Chair, Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission
    Written remarks


  • Brian Dooley, Director of the Human Rights Defenders Program, Human Rights First 
    Written statement
  • Maryam Alkhawaja, Bahraini human rights defender and Co-Director, Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR)
  • Kate Kizer, U.S. Advocacy Officer, Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB)
    Written statement


  • Cole Bockenfeld, Deputy Director of Policy, Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) 


114th Congress