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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Bahrain Seven Years Later

Friday, February 16, 2018 - 10:00am
2200 Rayburn House Office Building


Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a briefing on the human rights situation in Bahrain on the seventh anniversary of its pro-democracy uprising.  

Bahrain, host of the headquarters of the United States 5th Fleet, is a majority Shia country ruled by a Sunni monarchy. In February 2011, citizens rose up to protest state corruption, security force abuses, a dysfunctional justice system, and the lack of democracy. The government reacted by arresting, jailing and torturing protestors, including medical personnel. Some people were killed and eventually hundreds were convicted of political charges linked to the protests, including opposition leaders who received life sentences for terrorism. After the fact, the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) investigated and issued a report with modest recommendations for reforms that were accepted by the government and became a point of reference for constructive change.

Seven years later, the BICI recommendations have not been fully implemented, and some changes that had been achieved have been rolled back – in particular, in October 2017 Bahrain resumed the practice of trying civilians in military courts. The major opposition political parties have been outlawed, hundreds of people have been stripped of their citizenship, and a conflict that was originally political has become increasingly sectarian. Restrictions on arms transfers imposed by the Obama administration have been lifted by President Trump, as the Bahraini government has increasingly sought to link its internal opposition to Iran.

Panelists will provide a comprehensive update on the current human rights situation, the prospects for democratic reforms and the implications for security and stability in the region.  

This briefing will be open to Members of Congress, congressional staff, the interested public, and the media. For any questions, please contact Kimberly Stanton at 202-225-3599 or (for Rep. McGovern) or Matthew Singer at 202-226-3989 or (for Rep. Hultgren). 

Hosted by:

James P. McGovern, M.C.
Co-Chairman, TLHRC
Randy Hultgren, M.C.
Co-Chairman, TLHRC


Opening Remarks

  • Rep. James P. McGovern, Co-Chair, TLHRC


  • Husain Abdulla, Executive Director, Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain
  • Maryam al-Khawaja, Human Rights Defender and Independent Consultant, Gulf Center for Human Rights
  • Andrea Prasow, Deputy Washington Director, Human Rights Watch
  • Dwight Bashir, Director of Policy and Research, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom
  • Andrew Miller, Deputy Director for Policy, Project on Middle East Democracy


  • Brian Dooley, Senior Advisor, Human Rights First


115th Congress