Bahrain speaks of 'delicate transition'

Nov. 6, 2012 at 11:47 AM
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MANAMA, Bahrain, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- The next phase of reform in Bahrain will reveal which groups are in support of the country's national security, the minister of human rights said.

Bahrain was criticized last year for its harsh crackdown on anti-government protesters. Many human rights activists have been jailed, though the government said it's committed to reforms spelled out by an independent human rights commission that investigated last year's unrest.

Salah bin Ali Abdul Rahman, the minister of human rights, condemned a string of bombings this week that left two men dead and several others wounded in Manama.

Attacks like these, he said, are new to the country and contrary to the national principles.

"The next phase is a crucial and a delicate transition in Bahrain's history for it will reveal who is supporting the protection of the country and defend its security and achievements against tampering, chaos and destruction," he was quoted by the official Bahrain News Agency as saying, offering few specifics.

Bahrain was criticized for banning public demonstrations last week. The ban is in place until the security situation is restored, the government said.

Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, said the government should adhere to reforms rather than imprisoning human rights defenders.

"The government should immediately lift the ban on all demonstrations and respect the universal right to peaceful assembly and free expression," he said in a statement.

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