Britain must listen to Bahraini human rights defenders

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In late July, the UK Foreign Office published an update report on human rights in Bahrain. From opening line to closing paragraph, the report implies the FCO is either being misled by its Gulf ally, or is knowingly minimising Bahrain’s abuses. Bahraini human rights defenders (HRDs) suspect it’s a bit of both.

The report begins: “There has been a mixed picture on human rights in Bahrain between January and June 2016,” standing in stark contrast to what HRDs are calling “the worst and most violent crackdown since 2011”. The FCO’s review continues with a largely upbeat story of reform in a kingdom that became famous in 2011 for crushing peaceful dissent, killing protestors, torturing medics and imprisoning human rights defenders for life following military trials.

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