Bahrain's parliament has invited the U.N. human rights chief to visit and promised him unrestricted access to prisons and Shi'ite villages, local media said on Wednesday, following his criticism of the kingdom's record.

A senior official at the United Nations human rights office in Geneva welcomed the invitation and said any visit would have to address issues including reports of torture and a crackdown on activists and political parties in the Sunni-ruled state.

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