UNITED NATIONS— UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday demanded a halt to violence against peaceful demonstrators who stand up to voice "their legitimate aspirations" in Bahrain and elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa.
The UN chief called for those responsible to be brought to justice.
Ban told reporters that "the situation calls for bold reforms, not repression."
He demanded respect for human rights including the rights of peaceful protest and assembly, freedom of the press, and access to information.
Ban said the UN has been urging leaders in the region to listen attentively to their people.
He said progress can be made where governments are responsive, people are empowered, and growth is inclusive.
Ban welcomed commitments in Egypt to move to democratic rule.