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Bahrain responds to human rights critics

Aug. 26, 2013 at 12:19 PM

MANAMA, Bahrain, Aug. 26 (UPI) -- Militants across Bahrain are using acts of violence to express their grievances, the government said in response to questions about its human rights record.

Bahrain has been the target of widespread condemnation over its human rights record. It was criticized for its crackdown on deadly protests in 2011 but stressed it's committed to reforms spelled out by an independent commission of inquiry.

CNN broadcast a weekend feature highlighting a campaign by Maryam al-Khawaja, acting president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights. She said protests are ongoing against the Sunni-led monarchy in the country.

"The thing about Bahrain is that nobody really knows what's going on there because there's not much media coverage," she was quoted as saying from Beirut. "But the protests never stopped."

The government issued a statement to CNN saying it was committed to human rights reforms. It said Khawaja's "personal" views of the situation in Bahrain were "misguided."

"Another prevalent issue that must be addressed is the dramatic escalation of violence by radicals using a series of militant tactics to voice their opinions, including explosives, shotguns and rocket launchers amongst many others," the government said in a statement Sunday.

The official Bahrain News Agency reported nationwide talks on implementing human rights reforms were under way.

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