7 June 2011
Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Rupert Colville
The High Commissioner would like to make clear that a meeting she had last Friday with Bahrain’s Minister of Social Development and acting health minister, Dr Fatima bint Mohammed Al Balooshi and three other Bahrain government officials, has been grossly misrepresented in a report by the Bahrain News Agency. The BNA article was subsequently picked up by a number of newspapers in the region, including the Khaleej Times and the Gulf Daily News, and even by some Sri Lankan government officials and media for their own purposes.
The Bahrain News Agency, which was not present at the meeting, stated that the High Commissioner had “recognized misinformation” about the Kingdom of Bahrain, and quoted her as saying “Certain information which we received about the developments in Bahrain are untrue.”
The High Commissioner would like to stress that she made no such statement, and is disturbed by this blatant distortion of her words. She will formally request the Government officials who attended the meeting to issue a correction.
The discussions at the meeting with the Bahraini Government delegation focused mainly on the proposed OHCHR mission to Bahrain, as well as a number of other issues relating to the recent protests, including the need for transparent independent investigations into the human rights violations that have taken place there. The mission has been accepted in principle by the Bahraini government but no dates have yet been set.