Bahrain grants UN mission access

27th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

Bahrain has agreed to host a team of UN assessors following a violent crackdown on popular protests earlier this year, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said Friday.

"The government of Bahrain has agreed in principle for us to deploy an assessment mission to the country and we welcome this," said spokesman Rupert Colville.

"We have been seeking access into Bahrain for quite some time, precisely so we can assess the situation independently.

"As we prepare for this mission, we continue to receive reports about ongoing dismissals of people from their jobs, as well as trials of individuals, for their political views and for participating in the demonstrations earlier this year."

Bahraini authorities have said 24 people were killed during the month-long protests which began mid-February and four demonstrators died in custody.

Colville said that aid groups reported more than 1,000 people in custody following the unrest with a further 59 unaccounted for up to May 18.

"We hope to be able to continue investigating this information when our delegation goes to the country," said the spokesman.

The UN is not the only organisation to have encountered problems operating in the Shiite-majority kingdom which is ruled by the Sunni Al-Khalifa dynasty.

President of the International Committee of the Red Cross Jakob Kellenberger condemned on Thursday the group's lack of access to detainees in Bahrain.

© 2011 AFP

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