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Bahrain's rights agenda scrutinized

April 9, 2013 at 12:15 PM

PARIS, April 9 (UPI) -- Members of Parliament in Bahrain are called on to vote down a bill that would interfere with civil organizations, an international rights group said.

The International Federation for Human Rights, known by its French initials FIDH, said it was joined by its partners in expressing concern over a draft law on civil organizations under review in Bahrain.

The groups said the measure would give the government the power to replace board members on civil organizations and prohibit them from engaging in political activity.

FIDH President Souhayr Belhassen said the rights community "respectfully requests members of Parliament to vote down the bill ... and to prevent any other bill or initiative that would limit the right to freedom of association."

Dozens of demonstrators died during 2011 protests against the Sunni-led monarchy. Since then, the government has detained or revoked the citizenship from opposition leaders.

FIDH disputed a Feb. 19 report from the official Bahrain News Agency that stated it had expressed its appreciation for steps taken to address the recommendations of an independent commission of inquiry.

Bahrain has been criticized for its stance on anti-government movements. The government said it's committed to the reforms recommended by the inquiry, however.

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