Britain, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia

This video is called Human right violations in Bahrain after BICI report.

By Alex Gangitano on

Government report: We should admit our foreign policy is hypocritical

Tuesday, 16 October 2012 11:01 PM

The UK should admit its trade priorities contradict its human rights concerns, an influential committee of MPs found today.

The foreign affairs committee criticised the government’s decision to not brand Bahrain a “country of concern” ahead of the Grand Prix, especially since it later refusing to attend the Euro 2012 in Ukraine.

“Given the Bahraini authorities’ brutal repression of demonstrators in February and March 2011, we believe it should have been designated a country of concern in the Foreign Office’s report,” the report found.

“It is inevitable that the UK will have strategic, commercial or security-related interests which have the potential to conflict with its human rights values.”

“In our view, it would be in the government’s interest for it to be more transparent in acknowledging that there will be contradictions in pursuing these interests while promoting human rights values.”

The UK has long been criticised for the apparent contradictions between its public attitudes to the Arab Spring and its trade deals with various authoritarian regimes in the region.

Anti-arms trade campaigners were especially critical of David Cameron‘s decision to travel to liberated Egypt with representatives of the arms industry following the revolution.

In a sign the committee intends to address UK policy towards the Arab Spring in a critical manner, it also announced an inquiry into relationships between Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UK.

Critics have long argued the UK turns a blind eye to repression in Saudi Arabia due to the country’s interests in the region and its close ties to the US.

Last year, Saudi Arabia sent tanks into Bahrain to crush the resistance movement there.

‘Countries of concern’ are regions in which the Foreign Office believes human rights failings are serious. Its application usually signals a hardening of British attitudes towards the government.

See also here. And here.

From the (Conservative) Daily Telegraph on the Conservative British Prime Minister:

David Cameron has been criticised by a senior parliamentary committee for his Government’s “illogical” refusal to condemn the Bahrain Grand Prix going ahead earlier this year.

Also from the Daily Telegraph:

The Foreign Office is inconsistent in its application of Human Rights standards and does not use all the tools at its disposal to seek improvements by punishing culpable states, MPs said today.

Bahrain: Questioning and detention of human rights defender Mr Mohammed Al-Maskati: here.

Prospects for Reform in Question as Bahrain Human Rights Defenders Face Judicial Harassment: here.

Saudi Arabia ‘Insulted’ by Parliamentary Inquiry on UK’s Relations with Gulf States: here. See also here.

11 thoughts on “Britain, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia

  1. Reblogged this on Tea with a Pirate and commented:
    I was in Bahrain for 10 years. I feel disgust for the British government who knowingly support this appalling government of Bahrain along with the USA, through shortsightedness and greed. Watch the police destroy skulls, lungs, private property and smack women around. The Bahrain royal family, and its ‘King’ who spends his summer in Hotel des Bergues in Geneva, his snout in the trough, the Prime Minister, longest serving torturer in the world and the fat son of a crown prince. Hopefully Scotland will gain independence from this shameful government and its own silly sick royal family, who invited the Bahraini king to ‘the’ wedding. Disgusting. Bahrain would never get away with this if ‘we’ didn’t pat their backs.


    • Definitely. I agree.

      If Scotland becomes independent, then one should hope that that will not just be the end of the monarchy in Scotland, but also the end of Scotland’s NATO membership and of the Trident nuclear weapons in Scotland.


  2. Rights groups: Bahrain emboldened by int’l silence


    10/17/2012 23:15

    According to the International Federation for Human Rights, at least 80 people have been killed since the protests began.

    Human rights groups in Bahrain accused their country’s government on Wednesday of being “emboldened by international silence” over the recent arrests and harassment of prominent rights defenders.

    The groups, who include the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights, issued an urgent appeal after police summoned BYSHR’s director, Muhammad al-Maskati, to report to to the al-Hoora police station in Manama on Tuesday on charges of rioting and participating in an illegal gathering.

    Under Bahrain’s Penal Code, it is a criminal offense for five or more people to gather in a public place to “undermine public security, even if intended to achieve legitimate purpose.”

    Maskati’s lawyers said the human rights activist had been remanded in custody Tuesday night and ordered to appear in the prosecutor’s office on Wednesday.

    The rights groups called on the international human rights community to join the appeal to the Bahraini government for al-Maskati’s release, warning that if they did not speak out the authorities may continue their crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations.

    The groups said that Maskati’s arrest followed his participation last month in the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

    Last month, BYSHR accused the Bahraini authorities of threatening Maskati after he spoke at the council, noting that the kingdom’s pro-government al-Watan newspaper published a photograph of Maskati and other human rights leaders under the caption “al-Watan reveals the names of participants who discredited Bahrain in Geneva.”

    Rights groups also said that Maskati’s arrest comes as part of a recent government crackdown on human rights and pro-democracy protests in Bahrain.

    Over the weekend, police fired tear gas and stun grenades at protesters at a second, larger pro-democracy rally in Manama, named “Stop Our Bloodshed, We Will Never Abandon Our Demands” and led by Bahrain’s main opposition bloc, the Shi’ite al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, according to Reuters.

    On Tuesday, a Bahraini human rights lawyer said a court had prolonged the appeal of another highprofile Bahraini human rights activist jailed for three years for illegal assembly.

    Nabeel Rajab, who serves as president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, was sentenced in August.

    Rajab’s lawyer, attorney Muhammad al-Jishi, said on Twitter that the judge had refused to release Rajab, would not allow defense witnesses into the courtroom and postponed his court hearing until November 8.

    According to Amnesty International, Rajab’s defense attorneys also asked the court to open an investigation into evidence that has apparently gone missing from his case file.

    Bahrain, which is home to the US Navy’s 5th Fleet, has seen anti-regime protests since February 14, 2011, when Shi’ite protesters demanded increased civic freedoms and greater participation in the Sunni-led kingdom.

    According to the International Federation for Human Rights, at least 80 people have been killed since the protests began.

    On Sunday, lawyers representing five hunger striking Shi’ite medics jailed in connection with the protests also called on the international community to campaign for their release.

    The medics, including senior orthopedic surgeon Ali Alekri, were arrested after caring for protesters wounded in last year’s crackdown.


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