Today marks the one year anniversary of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) report. In the year since commissioning the landmark report, the Government of Bahrain has taken some important steps to implement the BICI recommendations, including allowing the International Red Cross to visit prison facilities, issuing new protocols on arrest authorities and a new Police Code of Conduct, reinstating some workers and students, beginning to rebuild religious sites, and other reforms that allow the Government to pursue additional BICI recommendations. However, there continue to be delays in fully implementing the report’s recommendations, particularly regarding accountability for official abuse, limits on freedom of expression and assembly, meaningful security sector reform, and a political environment that has become increasingly inhospitable to reconciliation.
We are also concerned about rising violence in Bahrain. In the last month, police, protesters, and bystanders have been killed. We continue to urge all Bahrainis to pursue their political objectives peacefully and the Government of Bahrain to exercise restraint in responding to peaceful protests.
Since the unrest began last year, the United States has urged the Government of Bahrain to implement reforms and to address ongoing human rights concerns, including by fully implementing the BICI report recommendations. We will continue to encourage the Bahraini Government and all segments of Bahraini society to create an environment conducive to political dialogue and reconciliation. The Bahraini Government can only achieve the more prosperous, stable, and secure Bahrain it seeks through the continuation of the reform efforts it has initiated and must now fully implement. We look to leaders in Bahrain — government officials, political leaders, and civil society — to build on these initial steps and help realize the aspirations of all Bahrainis. Bahrain is a valued strategic partner and longtime friend of the United States, and we will continue to support these important efforts.