Banning of Bahrain's largest opposition group deplored by UN chief

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon briefs the press at UN Headquarters in New York. UN Photo/Mark Garten

The government dissolution of the largest opposition group in Bahrain, Al-Wefaq, has been deplored by the UN Secretary-General.

Ban Ki-moon said in a statement issued through his spokesperson that the move represented "the latest in a series of restrictions" of the rights of citizens living in the Gulf state.

Matthew Wells reports.

The UN chief's statement said that Bahrain was stripping away the rights to "peaceful assembly, freedom of association and freedom of expression."

The dissolution of Al-Wefaq, together with new punitive measures against the Secretary-General of the party, and others, risked "escalating an already tense situation in the country," he added.

Here's Ravina Shamdasani from the UN Human Rights Office, OHCHR, in Geneva on Tuesday.

"We regret the decision to press ahead with the ban. Reports suggest that the court hearing on the ban was carried out without due regard for the principles of fair trial. The ban on Al-Wefaq is the latest in a series of measures over the last few months that appear to be designed to quash dissent."

The UN Secretary-General called for a resumption of "all-inclusive national dialogue in the interests of the peace and stability of Bahrain and the region."

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 47″

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