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Secretary-General stresses human rights during meeting with top Bahraini officials

4 June 2011 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has reiterated his call on Bahrain's Government and security forces to uphold international human rights standards, days after authorities in the Middle East country lifted a state of emergency following months of unrest.

Mr. Ban met yesterday in New York with Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain and the country's Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohamed Al Khalifa.

Earlier this week Bahrain's King Hamad announced that emergency laws have been lifted and that a national dialogue would begin on 1 July – moves which the Secretary-General has welcomed.

“He expressed the hope that such a dialogue would be genuine, meaningful and inclusive and respond to the legitimate political, economic and social aspirations of all Bahraini people,” according to an information note provided by his spokesperson after Mr. Ban met the senior Bahraini officials.

“The Secretary-General reiterated his call on the Government and security forces in Bahrain to uphold international human rights norms and standards and welcomed the commitment and assurances made by the Crown Prince in this regard.”

Bahrain is one of several nations in the Middle East and North Africa that have been rocked this year by protests calling for increased freedoms and democratic reforms.

The crackdown by Bahraini security forces against peaceful protesters – which has reportedly killed 20 people – has drawn criticism from UN officials, including Mr. Ban and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, both of whom have urged maximum restraint and called for inclusive dialogue with all parties.

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