In past five years severe human rights violations committed in Bahrain during F1 race

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Bahrain
Monday, 04 April 2016

A Bahraini human rights group has strongly criticized the Formula One’s governing body, the FIA, for staging auto races in the Persian Gulf kingdom despite its terrible human rights record.

“In the past five years severe human rights violations have been committed during the race authorized by the FIA. These include arbitrary arrests, torture and killings,” Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, the director of advocacy at the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, said.

“Until now the FIA have shirked responsibility and failed to use their leverage,” Alwadaei added, urging the body to abide by its responsibilities and be “prepared to cancel the race in coming years.”

Alwadaei’s remarks echoed a letter sent by BIRD to Jean Todt, president of the FIA.

“As the President of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile, you are directly responsible to ensure that due diligence procedures are implemented effectively to mitigate the circumstances in which human rights abuses occur in the process of conducting the race,” the letter said.

BIRD also expressed concern that the FIA has been reluctant to “address these adverse human rights impacts caused as a result of the race since 2011.”

“Since 2011 the government of Bahrain has continued imprisoning and torturing those expressing dissent. It is widely recognized that the government response is characterized by the unlawful use of state violence, injuring hundreds of people. In 2015 Human Rights Watch exposed reform promises by the government as a ‘sham’ and that torture was still widespread and systematic,” the letter elaborated.

Alwadaei said that he had not yet received a response to the letter. Todt was also unavailable to comment.

The second round of the Formula 1 season has begun in Bahrain on Sunday.

Bahraini people have held several anti-regime demonstrations, denouncing the hosting of the Formula One race as a failed attempt to restore Manama’s international image.

The 2011 race was canceled amid a heavy crackdown on pro-democracy protests in the kingdom, which left many people dead.

Since mid-February 2011, thousands of anti-regime protesters have held numerous demonstrations on the streets of Bahrain, calling for the Al Khalifa family to relinquish power.

Scores of Bahrainis have been killed and hundreds of others injured and arrested in the ongoing crackdown on peaceful demonstrations.

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