STATEMENTS

Canada criticised for arming Saudis, MPs call to ban tyrant from Horse show

Canada has been criticized for supplying arms to the Saudis for its war on Yemen. Since 2015, Canada has approved more than $284 million in exports of Canadian weapons and military goods to the countries bombing Yemen. But it boasted that Ottawa had given a total of $65 million to help ease what the UN called “the worst man-made humanitarian crisis of our time.” What Justin Trudeau’s government did not mention in is that “It’s a bit like helping pay for somebody’s crutches after you’ve helped break their legs,” said Cesar Jaramillo, executive director of Project Ploughshares, a research and advocacy organization that studies Canada’s arms trade. Jaramillo calls Canada’s position “blatantly contradictory,” saying the government can’t claim to be a champion of human rights while arming the world’s worst offenders. “The problem is Canada also wants the sweet multibillion-dollar deals, so it cuts corners on human rights.”

Last week Bahrain refused to receive a rights delegation attempting to assess its human rights situation, according to the head of the Subcommittee of Human Rights from the European Parliament. The dictatorial regime denied access to the delegation after it had requested a visit to review its human rights record, Antonio Panzeri revealed. “I regret to inform you that the Kingdom of Bahrain has refused our request to visit by a delegation of the European Parliament,” Panzeri said at a meeting at the European Parliament on Thursday 26th April. On 30th April, UN human rights experts called for the retrial of four men sentenced to death by a Bahraini military court in a collective trial that breached fair trial and due process guarantees and confessions obtained under torture. They added “The allegations of enforced disappearance and torture must be promptly, thoroughly and impartially investigated with a view to holding those responsible to account and preventing future similar occurrences.” They further urged the king of Bahrain to pardon all other death sentences and ensure that all these and other pending capital punishment cases are retried in full respect of fair trial and due process guarantees in compliance with the treaty obligations the country has undertaken under the ICCPR and CAT. “We also ask that the authorities reinstate the citizenship of all four men as well as that of all others that have been punished in the same manner in the same collective trial against established international human rights law and standards”, they added.

After the dictator had been forced to commute the death sentences on four innocent natives, four senior religious scholars issued a statement calling for commuting similar death sentences of several others and releasing the thousands of political prisoners. Instead of heeding the call, the regime’s mouth pieces waged a campaign against the scholars and Alkhalifa minister of interior threatened to order their arrest if they repeated such a demand.

Calls have been made to cancel the invitation to Bahrain’s dictator and ban him and his entourage from attending the Windsor Horse Show on 12th May. The Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) has filed a legal complaint with the UK’s authority for the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), against the Royal Windsor Horse Show’s principal partner Land Rover, main Sponsor Rolex, and event organiser HPower Group. They want to hold the organisers – HPower Group – and the key sponsors (Rolex and Land Rover) accountable for the negative human rights impact of the race and ask them to put in place processes to stop this happening again.  King Hamad of Bahrain should not be a guest of honour at the event while pro-democracy movements are violently suppressed in his own country.

Several MPs have lodged an Early Day Motion to protest the invitation of Bahrain’s dictator to the horse show. The EDM says: That this House condemns the Bahraini authorities’ detention and interrogation of the family members of UK-based Bahraini human rights activists who participated in peaceful protests against the King of Bahrain’s attendance at the 2017 Royal Windsor Horse Show; is alarmed by the fact that British journalist Jason Parkinson was followed and threatened by plainclothes Bahraini intelligence officers from the Windsor showground to London in 2017; is appalled by the invitation to Prince Nasser to attend this year’s Royal Windsor Horse Show, when his alleged involvement in the torture of detainees in Bahrain which led to his immunity being revoked by the High Court of Justice in 2014, has yet to be addressed and thoroughly investigated; calls on the Government to uphold its pledge to protect freedom of expression and assembly in both Bahrain and the UK; demands assurances from the Bahraini authorities that protesters in the UK and their family members residing in Bahrain will no longer be harassed through reprisals for speaking about the crackdown on human rights in Bahrain, as in the case of UK-based activist Sayed Alwadaei, whose family members were convicted and sentenced to years in prison on the basis of confessions extracted under duress; notes that, if the Government is unable to secure the release of Mr Alwadaei’s family members and protect the safety of protesters in the UK, the invitation to the King of Bahrain should be retracted.

Bahrain freedom Movement

2nd May 2018 (info@vob.org, www.vob.org)

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