Bahrain, which is known for violating the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and the human right of free speech, considering protests terrorism and human rights activists as terrorists and a threat to public order, has now been trained by the U.S. Embassy in Manama in surveilling the so-called ‘terrorist organizations’’ social media.
On 19 September the U.S. Embassy in Manama released on X (formerly Twitter), “Congratulations @moi_bahrain law enforcement officers for successfully completing Advanced Social Media Investigations training. The training focused on how terrorists and terrorist organizations use social media for operations, recruiting, and disinformation. This initiative was organized by the U.S. Embassy’s Regional Security Office and the Antiterrorism Assistance program #StateDeptATA in partnership with @StateDeptCT& @StateDeptDSS. Together, we continue to strengthen global security! #USAinBahrain”
While the U.S. prides itself on “strengthening global security”, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor calls out the U.S. for not living up to its Leahy law, stating that the U.S. government vets the law enforcement of a foreign country to ensure they have not committed any gross human rights violations before providing any training is conducted. The U.S. cannot run from the fact that the gross human rights violations stated above, as the human rights violations were identified in a U.S. State Department human rights report.
Rather than combating terrorism as defined by the U.S., the U.S. is improving the totalitarian monarchy and its law enforcement to monitor, quiet, and ultimately arbitrarily arrest human rights activists and protesters in Bahrain.
In recent years, Bahraini authorities have arrested dozens of individuals and sentenced some of them to prison for their writings on social media platforms. These individuals were convicted of vague and unjust charges through the arbitrary use of Laws, particularly Law No. 60 of 2014 concerning Information Technology Crimes.
The U.S. government should guarantee that the actions of its agencies do not contribute to human rights violations in any manner. When engaging in collaborative programmes in a nation notorious for suppressing freedoms, such as Bahrain, it is imperative to exercise caution to prevent the misuse of U.S. expertise and assistance for illicit government activities that ultimately result in the persecution of human rights advocates.
Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor calls out the U.S. for throwing human rights violations under the carpet to further geopolitical goals, as the training is part of a wider U.S.-Bahraini security agreement.
Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor urges the U.S. to not provide Social Media Investigation training to Bahraini law enforcement, as it would endanger countless civilians.