One year on, Bahrain is no closer to reform | Freedom House

One year on, Bahrain is no closer to reform

The Jerusalem Post

by Sarah Trister

It has been a year since the Kingdom of Bahrain received accolades for commissioning and then agreeing to implement the findings of a report investigating the protests and violence that occurred in the country from February to March, 2011.

However, 12 months later most of the the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) recommendations remain unimplemented, and the government has yet to demonstrate that it is interested in real political reform.

Recent actions by the government have revealed its duplicity as it bans public protests, continues to jail citizens for free expression, and revoked the citizenship of 31 activists and opposition leaders.

The government of Bahrain can (and does) publicly boast of its reform efforts, but its actions at home paint the real picture of a country that continues to be gripped by turmoil and repression.

If one were to look only to the government of Bahrain for details on the current situation in the country one would find a royal family committed to reform, slowly making progress in the face of difficult odds including an Iranian (and sometimes, oddly, American) conspiracy against it. The government claims to have implemented most of the BICI recommendations, and consistently raises the specter of Iranian involvement to remind the United States and other allies of their important security role in the region.

Unfortunately, the rosy picture offered by the Bahraini government is far from the reality on the ground according to human rights organizations, media and activists.

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