UK relations with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain worsening over human rights concerns

The National, 19 October

LONDON // Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have objected strongly to criticism from British Members of Parliament who accuse the David Cameron government of failing to promote human rights in key Gulf allies.

A report published on Wednesday by parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee criticised the British government for its reaction to unrest in Bahrain last year, and is the latest in a series of moves by back bench MPs seeking a review of relations with Gulf states.

“Given the Bahraini authorities’ brutal repression of demonstrators in February and March 2011, we believe that Bahrain should have been designated as a country of concern in the [Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s] 2011 report on human rights and democracy,” the report stated.

It went on to accuse the government of hypocrisy for failing to encourage a boycott of the Bahrain Grand Prix while enforcing a boycott of the group stages in this year’s football European Championship in Ukraine over human-rights issues.

Bahrain has rejected the report, saying the British government made the right choice in leaving the decision up to Formula One organisers.

Read the rest here…

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