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Friday, March 2, 2012

Bahrain delays visit by UN torture investigator



The Bahrain government is also imposing restrictions on groups that are attempting to monitor reforms in the country. The UN Human Rights office reports that Bahrain had requested the investigator's visit be delayed until July. A report commissioned by the Bahraini government has claimed that some protesters had been tortured after being arrested.

The UN investigator Juan Mendez had been scheduled to visit from March 8 to 17th so the investigation has been put of for several months. Mendez will request new dates.

Bahrain claims to be undergoing major reforms. The government says it wants those reforms to be in place before Mendez visits. It is not clear what the relationship between torture and these reforms would be.

Bahrain is a U.S. ally and base for the U.S. fifth fleet. It is ruled as a monarchy by the al Khalifa family. The rulers are Sunni while the majority of the population are Shia. The Shia complain of discrimination. In turn the government accuses Iran of promoting protests.

The government has requested human rights organisations to delay trips to Bahrain until after Feb. 22. But new restrictions are being placed on visitors.

The government has begun a series of reforms. These include compensation for torture victims. One wonders if there is any punishment for those who did the torturing! There is also a process of national reconciliation.

The government said it needs more time to carry out the measures suggested by the government report on the protests. Protests continue in Bahrain often in villages around the capital Manama. For more see this article.

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