Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has added his voice to the chorus of United Nations concern over the latest developments in Bahrain, where security forces and police are reported to have used heavy force against protesters and hospitals and medical centres have been taken over.
Mr. Ban spoke by telephone yesterday with Bahrain’s King Hamad ibn Isa al Khalifa, expressing his deepest concern over reports of excessive and indiscriminate use of force by the country’s police and security forces against unarmed civilians, including medical personnel.
Mr. Ban also noted to the King that such actions could be in breach of international humanitarian and human rights law, according to information released by his spokesperson.
The Secretary-General called for maximum restraint on the part of the security forces and underscored their “solemn obligation” to protect civilian lives.
He also called for open dialogue about the path towards genuine political, economic and social reform in Bahrain, which he said was essential to sustained peace and stability in the country.
Earlier this week the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay and the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos also sounded the alarm about the situation.
Bahrain is one of numerous countries in the Middle East and North Africa to have been hit by widespread public protests this year amid a region-wide push for reform.