Closure of Opposition Political Society Al-Wefaq in Bahrain

Press Statement
John Kirby
Assistant Secretary and Department Spokesperson, Bureau of Public Affairs
Washington, DC
June 14, 2016

We are deeply troubled by today’s alarming move by the Government of Bahrain to dissolve the opposition political society, Al-Wefaq. We are following this situation closely and urge Bahraini officials to reconsider this decision. As we have consistently maintained, peaceful criticism of the government plays a vital role in inclusive, pluralistic societies. Bahrain has made some progress in addressing the concerns and grievances of its citizens since the events of 2011. The government’s action today against Al-Wefaq is not consistent with a commitment to sustaining that progress or pursuing unfulfilled reforms.

We are concerned this action against Al-Wefaq, as well as other recent decisions, including the detention yesterday of prominent human rights activist Nabeel Rajab and resentencing of Al Wefaq chairman Sheikh Ali Salman, will restrict freedom of expression. Collectively, these actions divert Bahrain from dialogue necessary to ensure its security and stability and to continue the reforms that its leadership has pursued in the 16 years since ‎King Hamad’s National Action Charter was approved.