From the South West Londoner in England:
By Alex Brown – SW Londoner exclusive
November 13 2015, 13:00
While the proposed bill has just 17 signatures so far, Mr Brake argues the government has a moral obligation to act in Bahrain.
He said: “Bahrain is a good trade partner of the UK, but this doesn’t mean we have to ignore human rights violations.
“The government, which has a good record on human rights can’t ignore these issues as well.
“We have a good working relationship and this creates opportunities both formally and informally with the government.”
This working relationship includes a defence co-operation agreement, signed in 2012 by Bahrain’s Foreign Minister His Excellency Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Khalifa and Secretary of State for Defence Philip Hammond.
However, according to human rights activists, this agreement is one of the reasons the EDM is required.
He said: “The sharing of information silences the UK government and allows them to have a military base here.
“It is shameful to have places such as the UK, somewhere with a good record on human rights, a country considered a high civilisation, continuing to look the other way for military and trade benefits.”
Mr Almuhafdah also argued that Britain has exacerbated some of the problems facing Bahrain.
He said: “The British government has played a very negative role in the last five years.
“They have not helped in our struggle for democracy, indeed they have worked against it in their support for the royals.
“We have the highest percentage of political prisoners in the world.
“The UK has chosen to consider and focus on business more than human rights.”
These comments come within a month of Permanent Secretary at the Foreign Office, Sir Simon McDonald, saying that human rights no longer had the same profile they had in the past within the department, and that the prosperity agenda was now ‘further up the list of priorities’.
Amnesty International also criticised the government’s record, suggesting that Britain was consciously ‘watering down’ the significance of human rights violations in Bahrain.
Amnesty International UK’s head of policy and government affairs, Allan Hogarth, told SW Londoner: “For several years we’ve been extremely concerned that the UK government has downplayed the seriousness of the human rights crisis in Bahrain.
“Soft words from ministers and a big new British military base there give the distinct impression that the UK is turning a blind eye to the real situation in Bahrain.
Mr Rajab, President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and Deputy Secretary General for the International Federation for Human Rights, had been sentenced to six months in jail for insulting government institutions on Twitter, while blogger Al-Khawaja was sentenced to one year in jail for ripping up a photo of the king.
While Mr Brake’s EDM has yet to be debated, Mr Almuhafdah said its very existence would inspire those fighting for human rights.
He said: “This proposal will raise hope among the human rights defenders and those who care about democracy.
“We fully support the bill and urge all members to sign the bill and defend human rights.”
FIFA backs decision to allow controversial [Bahraini royal] Asian Football Confederation chief to run to replace Sepp Blatter: here.
Mr. Hubail as well as his brother Mohammed, who also played for Bahrain’s national team, were only released from prison after FIFA pressured the government on their behalf. Four other national team players were detained at the same time: here.