U.S. Congress Delegation Visits Bahrain; Meet Defense and Human Rights Authorities

Last week, a United States Congressional delegation visited Bahrain, renewing bilateral cooperation and discussing several matters of mutual interest to the two countries. The delegation met several agencies and Bahraini officials throughout the trip.

Among the visits, the congressional staff met with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Undersecretary, Ambassador Abdulla Abdullatif Abdulla and Minister of Defense Affairs Lieutenant-General Yusuf bin Ahmed Al Jalahma. The meetings centered on a number of bilateral interests, including cooperation on various regional and international issues.

The delegation also undertook several visits to prominent Bahraini institutions. The visitors met with officials from the National Institute of Human Rights and the Ombudsman.

NIHR’s Assistant Secretary-General, Yasser Shaheen, briefed the delegation on the role of NIHR to protect and enhance human rights, line with His Majesty the King’s reforms and strengthening of democratic processes in the country. The delegation commended NIHR for its mission in protecting human rights.

The Ombudsman also welcomed the delegation’s visit, as the office has a goal of increasing its cooperation with foreign institutions and authorities interested in the development of human rights in the Kingdom. The Ombudsman officials briefed the delegation about statistics regarding complaints by citizens and prisoners, and also stressed the ambition of the office in enhancing professionalism in its field and strengthening the human rights values of the Interior Ministry’s affiliates.

Congressional staff members also met with the Labor Market Regulatory Authority CEO, Osama bin Abdullah Al-Absi. Al-Absi stressed a desire of the LMRA to benefit from international expertise, emphasizing Bahrain’s commitment to international conventions on the protection of expat labor rights.

Bahrain has been praised by the Director General of the International Organization for Migration, William Lacy Swing, on its policies in dealing with foreign expats, saying that the Kingdom should be “considered a global role model for its practices.”

The U.S. delegation commended the LMRA on the protection of expat labor, its efforts to reform the labor market and its national efforts to combat human trafficking.

The congressional delegation visit enhanced cooperation and coordination with the United States on several fronts, highlighting the importance of strong relationships with the Kingdom’s global partners.