Bahrain Mirror: The United States Department of State said that the US is not bashful and not afraid to express its concerns about human rights issues in Bahrain, which is considered one of Washington's key allies.
This comment was made by the US State Department Spokesperson, John Kirby, in response to a question asked during a press briefing about the meeting between John Kerry and the Bahraini Foreign Minister, if Kerry discussed human rights issues and why the word of "human rights" was not even mentioned there.
QUESTION: Bahrain, the meeting between Secretary Kerry and --
MR KIRBY: Yeah.
QUESTION: Now, the Secretary says we finally - we also discussed the internal challenges of the reconciliation process and so on, and then he talks about how to resolve sectarian divisions and so on. Did the Secretary raise with him issues of stripping individuals of their citizenship, arbitrary arrests, and so on? Did he discuss the human rights issues at length?
MR KIRBY: Well, I think - I mean, just by what we already said about the meeting, I think you can take from that that certainly human rights issues came up. They routinely do.
QUESTION: But even the human rights word - the word of human rights is not even there.
MR KIRBY: This is a - we've been very candid and forthright, and Bahrain is a key partner in the region. As you know, they host our Navy's Fifth Fleet out there and they're a partner in the fight against ISIL. But obviously, we've been concerned about - and we've said it very publicly - concerns about some of the human rights issues in Bahrain, and we're not bashful, and we're not afraid to say that. Friends should and can have those kinds of discussions. So I think - and look at our Human Rights Report. If you want proof and evidence of the fact that we are able to have an open dialogue with Bahrain about our human rights concerns, it's right there.
QUESTION: But looking at the record also, I mean, for the past few years and so on, it seems that the Bahrainis are quite resistant to your ideas or your pressure, so to speak, to bring about a better human rights situation in the country.
MR KIRBY: Well, there's clearly improvements that we continue to believe need to be made, and there have been some. As you know, we - there were some - a few months ago we freed up some assistance but not to every - to the defense ministry, not to the interior ministry. So we have seen some progress. We'd like to see more. And that's why discussions like the one today are so important.