UN rights mission to visit Bahrain

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A UN human rights mission will head to Bahrain next week to discuss efforts to establish a democratic society in the Gulf kingdom, which was rocked by pro-democracy protests earlier this year.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees' delegation will "discuss how we can support national efforts towards the establishment of an open and democratic society in Bahrain" during the December 13-16 visit, a spokesman said.

The team will meet members of the government, civil society, members of the political opposition and victims of human rights violations in the Sunni-ruled country.

Bahrain was rocked by Shiite-led democracy protests between mid-February and mid-March, which were crushed by security forces backed by its Gulf neighbours.

A special independent commission said last month that the death toll from the violence had reached 35, and that police had used "excessive force" and tortured detainees, prompting King Hamad to vow reforms.

© 2011 AFP

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