Assistant Secretary Michael H. Posner of Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor today said Bahrain is an important partner of the United States.
At the U.S. Embassy in Manama, Mr. Posner reiterated that United States and Bahrain have a long-standing alliance based on shared political, economic and security interests. He said both countries benefit from stability and prosperity, and from a society where all people are able to express their views peacefully and contribute to the political process.
“It is in this context that President Obama met with the Crown Prince last week in Washington, and welcomed his announcement of the government’s intention to begin a national dialogue on reform in Bahrain next month.” -Mr. Posner
He stressed that the challenge now will be how to initiate a dialogue that involves representative leaders on all sides and to ensure that the dialogue addresses and begins to resolve divisive issues.
Mr. Posner underscored that he came to visit Bahrain as a friend of Bahraini people and to raise concerns in the spirit of friendship.
He pointed out that the United States, Bahrain and every other sovereign government in the interconnected age face constantly evolving security challenges.
“President Obama and Secretary Clinton have made clear time and again that respect for human rights and pursuit of national security interests are not in conflict; to the contrary, they are best advanced in tandem. This is the message I conveyed here this week – in all my meetings with government officials, NGOs and a wide range of private citizens.” -Mr. Posner
Mr. Posner emphasized that in recent months, he has seen a clear link in the region between national stability and security and the ability of governments to meet the legitimate aspirations of their people, including the desire of people everywhere for dignity, justice, economic opportunity, universal human rights and a voice in shaping their own future.
He stated that there are several positive developments that have occurred in Bahrain in recent weeks.
“We welcome the release of some detainees who were not charged, the restoration of some scholarships, and the reinstatement of a number of employees who were wrongfully dismissed from their jobs. We also welcome the announcement by the government that it will investigate deaths of people in custody, including one case where five prison guards are under investigation. The Government of Bahrain also has promised to investigate allegations of mistreatment of detainees in custody.” -Mr. Posner
Mr. Posner emphasized that meaningful dialogue can only take place in a climate of respect for the freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly – principles articulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and a number of treaties that Bahrain has ratified.
He said in the the coming weeks, all parties in Bahrain will need to create an appropriate environment for national dialogue, and all parties must participate to forge a just future for this country.