Human Rights Watch criticizes US resumption of military aid to Bahrain
Story Code : 470304
"While we do not think that the human rights situation in Bahrain is adequate...we believe it is important to recognize that the government of Bahrain has made some meaningful progress on human rights reforms and reconciliation," State Department spokesman John Kirby said on Monday.
The US imposed ban on security assistance to Bahrain following 2011 demonstrations.
Bahrain’s military now can receive antitank missiles, Humvees, ammunition and small arms.
Kirby also described Bahrain as “an important and longstanding ally” on regional security issues.
“Following the lift of these holds, we will continue to press Bahrain on our human rights concerns,” he said.
The recent move by the US was criticized by Human Rights Watch.
The organization said the Persian Gulf state had continued to crack down on opposition figures.
"The Obama administration’s decision to lift restrictions on security assistance to Bahrain’s Defense Forces and National Guard is occurring in the absence of any real or meaningful political reform," said Sarah Margon, Washington director of Human Rights Watch.
Scores of Bahrainis have lost their lives and hundreds of others wounded since the Al Khalifah regime launched crackdown on peaceful protesters in 2011.
Washington, which has its Fifth Navy Fleet in Bahrain, has particularly been criticized for backing the brutal Bahraini regime.