UN chief voices concern over ban on protests in Bahrain

Protesters in Manama, Bahrain. Photo: Al Jazeera English

1 November 2012 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today expressed concern over restrictions Bahraini authorities have imposed on public demonstrations and other public gatherings.

“The Secretary-General believes these restrictions could aggravate the situation in the country and urges the Government of Bahrain to lift them without delay,” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said in a news statement.

Mr. Ban also called on protesters to “ensure that any demonstrations are, in fact, peaceful,” the spokesperson added, noting that “recent violence that reportedly killed two police officers is unacceptable.”

According to media reports, the Government declared the restrictions on 30 October amidst clashes in recent weeks between anti-government protesters and police. In addition, a senior interior ministry official reportedly said that “repeated abuse” of the rights of freedom of expression could no longer be tolerated.

Mr. Ban reiterated his appeal to the Bahraini authorities to “abide fully by international human rights standards, including respect for freedom of expression and peaceful assembly and association,” the Secretary-General’s spokesperson said.

The Secretary-General “reaffirms his belief that there needs to be an all inclusive and meaningful national dialogue that addresses the legitimate aspirations of all Bahrainis, as this is the only way towards greater stability and prosperity for all Bahrainis,” the spokesperson noted.

He added that Mr. Ban also called on the Bahraini Government to “complete the full implementation” of recommendations contained in the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, which the King of Bahrain established in June 2011 to investigate incidents that occurred during unrest in the small-island Middle Eastern state that year.


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