5 July 2011 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the start of a process of national dialogue in Bahrain, taking note of Government steps to improve the political atmosphere by creating an investigations commission, transferring some trials to civilian courts and releasing detainees. He encouraged the Bahraini authorities to take further steps towards political, economic and social reforms in accordance with the country’s international human rights obligations.

“As the dialogue process gets under way, he urges the Government to do everything possible to ensure a genuine, all-inclusive and meaningful dialogue that will lead to tangible political, economic and social reforms which meet the legitimate aspirations of all Bahraini people,” according to a note released by the spokesperson of the Secretary-General.

Mr. Ban said the process is essential for healing social tensions and promoting greater national unity and stability.

Bahrain was recently hit by unrest similar to the popular protest movements in countries across North Africa and the Middle East this year, notably including Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria and Yemen.

The Secretary-General had last month called for a process of political dialogue that would be “genuine, inclusive and lead to tangible outcomes which address the legitimate aspirations of all Bahrainis.”

Related: Bahrain: Ban voices deep concern at lengthy jail terms handed out to activists

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