The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Democracy in Bahrain has written to Bernie Ecclestone saying: “We request you cancel the Grand Prix. It is likely to attract as much negative publicity as last year.” A full copy of the letter is available at this link.
The letter was announced at a press conference held in the House of Lords, hosted by the group’s chair Andy Slaughter and Lord Avebury, Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Human Rights Group:
Formula 1: Driving Over the Rights of the Bahraini People
While Bahrain descends deeper into a political crisis, any remaining principles or values of human rights are being trampled upon by Formula 1 as they prepare to take the sport, yet again, to a country which at present, is a controversial and unsuitable location for any competition. Two years ago, Bahrainis employed for this leg of the championship were tortured at the circuit. This year’s Grand Prix, scheduled for the 19th to 21st April 2013, will provoke more protests as the people continue to count the victims of the regime’s brutality. Mr Slaughter and Lord Avebury will present the case for cancelling this year’s F1 Championship in Bahrain, which is also under Saudi occupation. F1 management insisted on holding last year’s Grand Prix and Bahrainis were killed, tortured and detained when they protested. Is a country which at present, is suppressing the human rights of its people and using sheer brute force to intimidate them, a place for sport or competition of any kind?
Ms Katy Clark MP, a member of the APPG for Democracy in Bahrain, spoke at the press conference. Yesterday, she tabled an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons calling for a boycott of the F1:
BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX
That this House calls for a boycott of the forthcoming Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix on moral grounds, given the continued human rights abuses committed by the Bahrain government against its citizens as detailed by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other organisations; believes that if it went ahead, the race would be used by the Bahrain government to present a false image to the world; is concerned that the human rights situation has not improved since the 2012 race; notes that the Bahrain government has failed to implement reforms it pledged to enact in 2011; and further notes that the Bahrain government is keeping prominent human rights defenders and political activists behind bars and continues to suppress, injure and kill peaceful protestors with excessive tear gas and birdshot.
Activists have been encouraged to try and get their MPs to sign the EDM through the “Write To Them” website.