Manama accepts most of UN rights suggestions
MANAMA - Agence France-Presse
Anti-government protesters gather for a march in Manama in this photo. AP photoBahrain said Sept. 19 it accepted “90 percent” of reforms urged by the U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC) in the wake of a popular uprising, amid U.S. criticism that the kingdom was dragging its feet.
“The government of Bahrain is pleased to fully accept 145 (out of 176 recommendations) and partially accept 13 more,” Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa told the Council, adding that “significant challenges remain.”
“We have undertaken unprecedented reforms,” he said, responding to numerous recommendations by the Council first made in May and covering notably Bahrain’s criminal justice system, the prevention of torture and the rights of women, children and minorities.
Since February 2011, thousands of anti-government protesters have staged regular demonstrations and called for reforms in the Gulf kingdom, which is ruled by the minority Sunni Khalifa family. The Shiite-led opposition’s demands for an elected government involve constitutional changes that would reduce the power of the dynasty.
The U.S. was less forthcoming. “The government needs to be attendant to accountability,” Michael Posner, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour, said, adding that progress was slowing down. “We have yet to see a successful prosecution of anyone in connection with some of the torture cases and deaths in custody last year,” he said.