Bahrain agrees in principle to visit by UN human rights mission

Bahrain’s acting health minister Fatima bint Mohammed Al Balooshi at the Human Rights Council in Geneva

7 June 2011 – The United Nations human rights office said today that the Government of Bahrain has agreed in principle to a UN mission to the country to look into the reported violations related to the recent pro-reform protests there, but a date for the visit has not been set.

The proposed mission was one of the topics discussed when the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay met with Bahrain’s acting health minister Fatima bint Mohammed Al Balooshi last Friday in Geneva, Rupert Colville, spokesperson for Ms. Pillay’s office (OHCHR), told reporters.

“The mission has been accepted in principle by the Bahraini Government but no dates have yet been set,” said Mr. Colville.

Ms. Pillay and Ms. Al Balooshi also discussed a number of other issues related to the demonstrations, including the need for transparent independent investigations into the human rights violations that took place during the protests, he added.

Bahrain is one of several nations in the Middle East and North Africa that have been rocked this year by protests calling for increased freedoms and democratic reforms.

The crackdown by Bahraini security forces against peaceful protesters – which has reportedly killed 20 people – has drawn criticism from UN officials, including Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Ms. Pillay, both of whom have urged maximum restraint and called for inclusive dialogue with all parties.

Speaking today, Mr. Colville also said that Ms. Pillay did not tell Ms. Al Balooshi that her office had recognized it had received misinformation about recent developments in Bahrain, as was reported by the Bahrain News Agency.

“The High Commissioner would like to stress that she made no such statement, and is disturbed by this blatant distortion of her words. She will formally request the Government officials who attended the meeting to issue a correction.”


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