A group of NGOs, led by Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB), launched a campaign to “raise awareness of the ongoing human rights abuses in Bahrain”. From the press release:
ADHRB and participating organizations sent a letter to Formula One drivers asking them to pledge their support for a free and just Bahrain by publicly condemning the ongoing human rights abuses. Drivers are encouraged to state their support during interviews at the Grand Prix, publish a statement on their website, express their solidarity via social media, or publicly dedicate their race to one of the many prisoners of conscience still imprisoned in Bahrain.
“While in Bahrain, we hope that participants of the Bahrain Grand Prix will take the time to learn about the ongoing human rights abuses and arbitrary detention of prisoners of conscience,” said ADHRB Director Husain Abdulla. “Although the President of Formula One, Bernie Ecclestone, said that he received reports that everything is back to normal in Bahrain, it is clear that his information comes from unreliable sources,” Abdulla added. “The truth is that the Bahrain government has been engaged in many of the same abuses that the international community condemned it for after Bahrain’s security forces launched a brutal crackdown against peaceful protests in 2011.”
The letter was signed by ADHRB, along with International Federation for Human Rights, Freedom House, Human Rights First, Just Foreign Policy, Physicians for Human Rights, and the Project on Middle East Democracy. It includes a table with details on some of Bahrain’s prisoners of conscience. Drivers are invited to: “publicly dedicate your race to one of the many prisoners of conscience held under lock and key for exercising their rights to free speech, expression, association, and assembly.”
Alongside the letter, the NGOs also launched a Twitter campaign, encouraging people to tweet to the drivers, teams and other relevant people using the hashtag #ReformsF1rst. A spreadsheet of Twitter handles is available to download at this link.