Islamic alliance stands by Bahrain

Nov. 26, 2012 at 9:09 AM

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia, Nov. 26 (UPI) -- The Organization of Islamic Cooperation said it welcomed efforts by the government in Bahrain to strengthen the reform process there.

Last week, the government in Bahrain was criticized for failing to honor the spirit of an independent fact-finding commission investigating demonstrations last year. Dozens were killed last year in anti-government protests where authorities were accused of using a heavy hand to stop protests.

Recently, Manama banned public demonstrations and revoked the citizenship from dozens of rights activists accused of working against the state.

OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, however, "commended the government's determination to strengthen the reform process and consolidate human rights in Bahrain."

An OIC statement said Ihsanoglu expressed optimism that the reform process would support national reconciliation.

Last week, the government invited the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to send a team to Bahrain to assess the situation.

Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the agency, said in a statement that his office was "deeply" concerned by recent developments in Bahrain.

"Bahrain should fully comply with its international human rights commitments, including respect for freedom of expression and peaceful assembly and association," he said.

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