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Bahrain: Stop using excessive force against public demonstrations and respect the rule of law, says Pillay

Bahrain: Stop using excessive force against public demonstrations and respect the rule of law, says Pillay

GENEVA (15 February 2011) – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Tuesday expressed alarm at authorities’ excessive use of force in Bahrain, including the killing of two peaceful protestors, urging the authorities to respect the right to demonstrate.

Ali Abdulhadi al-Mushaima, 27, was shot yesterday and Fadhel Salman Matrook, 32, killed today by members of Bahrain’s security forces.

“Too many peaceful protestors have recently been killed across the Middle East and North Africa,” Pillay said.

“Authorities everywhere must scrupulously avoid excessive use of force, which is strictly forbidden in international law. They must conduct prompt, impartial and transparent investigations where there have been breaches of this obligation.”

The High Commissioner stressed that lasting social stability could only be built on the foundations of the freedoms of expression and of peaceful assembly, adding that Bahrain, as a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, must fully respect its human rights obligations.

Pillay, who paid an official visit to Bahrain in April last year, said her office had been working on establishing a dialogue with the authorities since the political crackdown that began in August 2010.

“I have been urging the authorities to curb the excesses of the security apparatus and to undertake serious investigations into allegations of torture and abuse of detention rights of hundreds of political and human rights activists," she said. "These activists, including numerous children as young as 10, were reportedly arrested and detained without meaningful access to lawyers and their families, and subjected to ill-treatment in detention.”

“I urge the authorities to immediately cease the use of disproportionate force against peaceful protestors and to release all peaceful demonstrators who have been arrested,” Pillay added.

ENDS

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