UN: Bahrain's new anti-terror laws may violate human rights

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Bahrain protests

The UN Human Rights office (OHCHR) is concerned that new anti-terrorism laws recently passed by the National Assembly of Bahrain may violate international human rights standards.

The law on the Protection of Society from Acts of Terrorism recommends increasing the detention period or revoking the citizenship of anyone found guilty of committing or inciting an act of terrorism.

The law also provides for the banning of sit-ins, rallies and gatherings in the capital, Manama.

The UN human rights office says although it is the responsibility of States to maintain law and order, such responsibility must be exercised within international human rights standards.

Cécile Pouilly is the spokesperson for the UN human rights office in Geneva.

"We reiterate that the right to nationality is a fundamental right protected by Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which provides that no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his or her nationality. Any deprivation of nationality provided for by law must comply with procedural and substantive standards, including the principle of proportionality. We are concerned that arbitrary deprivation of nationality may also lead to statelessness with serious consequences for the protection of the human rights of the individuals concerned. Although we welcome the recommendation by the Parliament that 'basic liberties, particularly freedom of opinion, should not be affected to maintain a balance between law enforcement and human rights protection,' we reiterate our concern about the restrictions on public demonstrations and other public gatherings." 

The UN human rights office is calling on the Government of Bahrain to fully comply with its international human rights commitments, including respect for freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, and association.

At the same time it is urging all demonstrators to exercise these rights in a peaceful manner.

Patrick Maigua, United Nations Radio, Geneva.

Duration 1.57″

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