Since the start of the Arab Spring, the United States has spoken out for a set of core principles that have guided our response to events, including opposition to the use of violence and repression, defense of universal rights including the freedom of peaceful assembly, and support for political and economic reform that meets the legitimate aspirations of ordinary people throughout the region.
In Egypt over the past several days, we have seen protesters demand the realization of these principles. We have condemned the excessive use of force against them and called for restraint on all sides. We deeply regret the loss of life, and urge the Egyptian authorities to implement an independent investigation into the circumstances of those deaths. But the situation Egypt faces requires a more fundamental solution, devised by Egyptians, which is consistent with universal principles.
The United States strongly believes that the new Egyptian government must be empowered with real authority immediately. We believe that Egypt’s transition to democracy must continue, with elections proceeding expeditiously, and all necessary measures taken to ensure security and prevent intimidation. Most importantly, we believe that the full transfer of power to a civilian government must take place in a just and inclusive manner that responds to the legitimate aspirations of the Egyptian people, as soon as possible.
Egypt has overcome challenges before and will do so again. The United States will continue to stand with the Egyptian people as they build a democracy worthy of Egypt’s great history.
We welcome today’s report by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, which provides a thorough and independent assessment of events in Bahrain since protests first erupted in February. King Hamad’s decision to establish the Commission was a courageous one, and we commend him for it. We commend the chairman of the Commission, Cherif Bassiouni and the other commissioners for their thorough and painstaking efforts over nearly 5 months. The report identifies a number of disturbing human rights abuses that took place during this period, and it is now incumbent upon the Government of Bahrain to hold accountable those responsible for human rights violations and put in place institutional changes to ensure that such abuses do not happen again.
We welcome King Hamad’s commitment to carry out the report’s recommendations and will closely follow the implementation process. More broadly, we believe the Commission’s report and subsequent steps taken to implement its recommendations can serve as a foundation for advancing reconciliation and reform. Bahrain is a long-standing partner of the United States, and we urge the government and all parties to take steps that lead to respect for universal human rights and to meaningful reforms that meet the legitimate aspirations of all Bahrainis.
The United States welcomes the release of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) report, and we commend King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa’s initiative in commissioning it.
Our countries have many shared, strategic interests and a relationship that includes decades of working together to defend regional security. In this context, it is essential for Bahrainis themselves to resolve the issues identified in the report and move forward in a way that promotes reform, reconciliation, and stability.
We are deeply concerned about the abuses identified in the report, and urge the Government and all elements of Bahraini society to address them in a prompt and systematic manner. The Government of Bahrain has committed to establish a follow-on committee to implement the report’s recommendations, and we urge full and expeditious implementation of these recommendations.
The United States will continue to promote the fundamental freedoms and human rights of all of Bahrain’s citizens. We believe the BICI report offers a historic opportunity for all Bahrainis to participate in a healing process that will address long-standing grievances and move the nation onto a path of genuine, sustained reform.
Secretary Clinton spoke with Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr this afternoon to convey our deep concern about the violence that occurred over the weekend. She expressed condolences for all those who were killed and injured as a result of the violence.
The Secretary conveyed U.S. support for the Egyptian Cabinet’s decision to launch a transparent and credible investigation into the violence and stressed the importance of the investigation beginning immediately and holding accountable all responsible parties with full due process of law.
Secretary Clinton reiterated the need for the Egyptian government to ensure that the fundamental rights of all Egyptians are respected, including the rights of religious freedom, peaceful assembly, and the end of military trials for civilians, and that efforts be made to address sectarian tensions.
The President is deeply concerned about the violence in Egypt that has led to a tragic loss of life among demonstrators and security forces. The United States expresses our condolences to the families and loved ones of all who were killed or injured, and stands with the Egyptian people in this painful and difficult time. Now is a time for restraint on all sides so that Egyptians can move forward together to forge a strong and united Egypt. As the Egyptian people shape their future, the United States continues to believe that the rights of minorities – including Copts – must be respected, and that all people have the universal rights of peaceful protest and religious freedom. We also note Prime Minister Sharaf’s call for an investigation and appeal to all parties to refrain from violence. These tragic events should not stand in the way of timely elections and a continued transition to democracy that is peaceful, just and inclusive.
The United States calls on those who will gather to commemorate the second anniversary of the tragic 2009 pro-democracy demonstration in Conakry Stadium to do so peacefully, as violence undermines rule of law and threatens Guinea’s nascent democracy. During the demonstration in September 2009, 157 people were killed, and more than 1,000 injured when members of Guinea’s Presidential Guard opened fire on unarmed peaceful demonstrators and also brutally raped and sexually assaulted hundreds of women. The Guinean people have worked long and hard to bring about democracy; and with legislative elections set for December 29, 2011, now is not the time to lose democratic progress that took 50 years to achieve.
The United States encourages all political players in Guinea to engage in dialogue and act responsibly in order to reconcile differences. We urge Guinean security forces to refrain from using excessive force to control demonstrations.
The United States strongly condemns the use of force by Malawian authorities on July 20 to prevent peaceful demonstrations, as well as the ban imposed on all private radio stations reporting on the demonstrations. We also are disturbed by reports of violence targeting individuals based on their political or social affiliations. The government’s attempt to prohibit its citizens from marching, and the Communications Regulatory Authority’s ban on independent media coverage undermine democracy and the rule of law that Malawians cherish.
We recall President Mutharika’s remarks at the April 7 Millennium Challenge Corporation signing ceremony in Lilongwe that he will continue to adhere to and uphold democracy and good governance, freedom of expression, freedom of association. In light of continued rioting and rumors of retaliation, we urge restraint from both sides. We call on the people and the Government of Malawi to remain committed to the principles of democracy and to express disagreements through peaceful means.