Bahrain short on reforms, Amnesty says

Nov. 21, 2012 at 1:28 PM
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LONDON, Nov. 21 (UPI) -- Bahrain risks sliding back into protracted instability unless it takes seriously reforms spelled out by an independent rights panel, Amnesty International said.

The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry last year highlighted a series of abuses that occurred during an uprising against the Sunni monarchy and spelled out a series of reforms. The kingdom has said it's committed to the report's recommendations but has come over criticism for a series of incidents in recent weeks.

The government stripped citizenship from dissenters who were said to pose security threats. Public demonstrations were banned temporarily, meanwhile, while the government tackles national security concerns.

Amnesty International, in a 46-page report published on the first anniversary of the BICI report, said the human rights situation has "markedly deteriorated" in recent months. Many of the abuses outlined in the panel's report, the rights group said, remain unpunished.

"Only a handful of police officers have faced prosecution for the killing of protesters and the torture or other ill-treatment of detainees," the report states. "Instead, the authorities have entrenched repressive practices."

Bahrain's Foreign Affairs Minister Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed al-Khalifa said during meetings with British officials in London that the government was committed to BICI's findings. The government, the official Bahrain News Agency reports, has pledged to work "with all parties to renounce violence in order to create the atmosphere for a comprehensive national dialogue."

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