Concerned at recent reports in Bahrain of intimidation of human rights defenders and activists for peacefully promoting human rights, as well as for legitimately exercising their rights to freedoms of expression and association, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today said that such actions by the State authorities could potentially damage the human rights situation in the country.
According to a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban is concerned at the recent re-arrest of human rights defender Nabil Rajab, founder of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights; the dissolution of Al Wefaq, the largest opposition political grouping; and the lengthening of the sentence of Sheikh Ali Salman, of Al Wefaq.
The statement also says the UN chief is dismayed by reports suggesting that human rights defenders and activists in Bahrain have been intimidated and even stripped of their citizenship for peacefully carrying out activities to promote human rights, as well as for legitimately exercising their rights to freedom of expression and freedom of association.
Mr. Ban is concerned that such actions against the opposition may undermine the reforms undertaken by King Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifa and lessen the prospect of an inclusive national dialogue in the interest of all people of Bahrain.
The statement further said that the UN chief is convinced that the effective implementation of the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, the Universal Periodic Review and the national human rights institution are important to advance the human rights situation in the country and go a long way towards addressing the concerns and grievances of its citizens.