For Immediate Release: June 3, 2011
Washington, D.C.—Today’s decision by the Formula 1 authorities to stage a Grand Prix race in Bahrain in October damages the push for human rights in the country, said Human Rights First.
“Giving this prestigious event to the Bahrain authorities while there are reports of peaceful protestors being shot in the streets is a formula for disaster,” said Brian Dooley of Human Rights First. “Hundreds of people remain in detention after months of military rule. Show trials and attacks on human rights activists continue. In short, pro-democracy activists are being left in the dust. The Bahraini authorities should not have been awarded this event when they can’t even protect the basic human rights of their people.”
The brutal crackdown on peaceful dissent in Bahrain continues. Bahraini authorities continue to attack and harass human rights defenders, preventing them from carrying out their peaceful work to promote human rights. They have been arrested and beaten, and their homes attacked. Some are prevented from leaving the country. It is surprising that the Formula 1 authorities are willing to be associated with such repression.
“By aligning itself with the violent Bahraini regime, Formula 1’s reputation will be severely damaged,” added Dooley. “Racing fans everywhere should be dismayed that Formula 1 is lending its stamp of approval to a country where reform has stalled.”