WASHINGTON – Today, on the fifth anniversary of the Arab Spring-inspired protests in Bahrain, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on the Near East, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism, called on the leaders of Bahrain to commit to reviving a national dialogue process to promote political, social, economic, and human rights reforms. 

On February 14th, 2011, the Bahraini people demanded increased political freedom, participation in governance, and equality among its citizens. Those protests ended in a bloody crackdown and intensified societal divisions among the Bahraini people. Opposition figures remain jailed for their political views, including some individuals who merely participated in peaceful protests, such as American citizen and former Connecticut resident Tagi al-Maidan.  

“Bahrain has been a longtime partner and friend of the United States, and they play a key role in maintaining security in the Arabian Gulf,” said Murphy. “But unless they build a resilient and prosperous society where diverse opinions can be peacefully expressed without fear or intimidation, the United States’ national and regional security goals will continue to be compromised.”

Murphy continued, “It’s deeply discouraging that five years later, freedom of expression and assembly in Bahrain are still not protected, and that those who do engage in peaceful dissent continue to be prosecuted under vague and subjective laws. Bahrain’s leaders must recommit to implementing reforms under a national dialogue process that will initiate genuine national reconciliation. Broad sections of Bahraini society feel disenfranchised and disheartened, and taking real steps to heal these societal divisions will strengthen U.S. security, regional security, and the Bahraini nation.”