Middle East News
UN rights chief slams "heavy handed" Middle East governments
Feb 18, 2011, 16:58 GMT
Geneva - The United Nations human rights chief on Friday slammed Bahrain, Libya and other Middle Eastern governments for their 'excessively heavy-handed' response to opposition protests.
'The Middle East and North Africa region is boiling with anger,' said Navi Pillay, the high commissioner for human rights.
She said the protesters had 'legitimate demands' and their governments should listen. Pillay slammed the government reaction as 'illegal and excessively heavy-handed.'
In particular, she noted that in Libya 20 protestors were said to have been killed by security personnel. She also condemned deaths in Algeria, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq and Yemen.
Pillay said activists, lawyer and journalists were coming under what seemed to be targeted attacks. In Bahrain these attacks were also against doctors and medical personnel attending to injured protesters.
Opposition demonstrators have the right to freedom of assembly and speech, said Pillay, recognizing what she termed 'decades of neglect of people's aspirations to realize not only civil and political rights, but also economic, social and cultural rights.'
She warned governments that 'resorting to oppressive security measures ... will only foment more frustration, more anger, more instability.'
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