The United Nations human rights office is to send a human rights delegation to Bahrain.  It is alleged that human rights violations occurred during clashes between protesters and security forces earlier this year.

It has been a year of unrest for many Middle Eastern countries, a movement which is being called the Arab Spring.  Governments have fallen in four countries including Egypt and Libya, where the long-term Gaddafi regime fell.  Unrest still continues in the Middle East and there is concern over human rights violations in Syria; the UN has also warned that Syria could develop into a civil war.

A four-member team is scheduled to leave this week and are travelling there on the invite of the Bahrain Government.  The delegation will include Bacre Ndiaye, the Director of the Human Rights Council and Special Procedures Division at Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), and Frej Fenniche, the chief of the office’s Middle East and North Africa section.

Media reports allege that during clashes in February and March 2011, excessive force was used by the Government against protesters.  There are also allegations that some of the protesters detained during the protests were tortured.

In a statement, a spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, said:

“The Secretary-General calls on the Government to ensure the implementation of its recommendations as a meaningful step in addressing serious allegations of human rights violations.”

“He hopes the report’s issuance and implementation would help to create the conditions in Bahrain for all-inclusive dialogue, reconciliation and reforms that will meet the legitimate aspirations of the Bahraini people.”

Last month, human rights charity Amnesty International called upon the Bahrain Government to bring in human rights reforms after an independently commissioned report by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), which included the testimonies of 5000 people, detailed hundreds of incidents of human rights abuses.

Amnesty International also state that the Bahrain cabinet had admitted to the use of excessive force and mistreatment of prisoners and said that 20 security officers would be prosecuted.

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