British Foreign Office accused of misleading and whitewashing human rights violations in Bahrain
Human rights organizations have called on the British Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, to issue a correction regarding the misleading Foreign Office report on Bahrain, which represents a dangerous whitewashing of human rights violations and threatens to encourage violators in the Gulf country.
According to the Guardian newspaper, the organizations “Human Rights Watch, Reprieve, and the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy” said in a joint statement that the British Foreign Office report “is fraught with inaccurate information, and amounts to misinformation that can be used as propaganda by the government of Bahrain.
According to the newspaper, the UK government has funnelled around £13m to Bahrain through the Gulf Strategy Fund (GSF) over the past decade.
The signatory organizations expressed concern over Britain’s providing money to bodies implicated in human rights abuses through the fund, which MPs have repeatedly criticized for its lack of transparency.
They pointed out that the British Foreign Office report on human rights and democracy for the year 2021, which summarizes the global human rights climate, contradicts the reports of human rights organizations.
In it, it was stated: “Bahrain took positive steps in 2021, while the Human Rights Watch report for the same period found “the continuation of severe repression.”
In their statement to the British Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, the organizations said, “The findings of human rights organizations directly contradict the assessment of your report on human rights in Bahrain,” and demanded that the minister freeze all aid so that independent international experts can verify that the funded bodies no longer violation human rights.
They criticized what came in the report of the British Foreign Office regarding its failure to condemn violations against prisoners sentenced to death and praised the alternative sentences. However, its use was discriminatory and not for political prisoners.
Jade Bassiouni, director of Reprieve Organization, confirmed that “despite all the rhetoric in the British Foreign Office’s report on the supposed progress in the field of human rights in Bahrain, this is still a place where torture by the security services is rampant, and the regime can sentence you to death.”
“Millions of pounds of UK taxpayers’ money has been spent supporting institutions that gloss over these abuses, and worse, indulging and repeating the lie that Bahrain is engaged in serious human rights reform, while ministers provide diplomatic cover for the ongoing repression,” he added.
For his part, the director of the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, Sayed Ahmed Al-Wadaei, said that the British report did not mention the death of three detainees in Bahrain’s prisons in 2021, or the crimes of torture of political prisoners, which represents misleading by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the public. If the Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not correct this report Despite the credible evidence that it is misleading, the Bahraini regime will use it as evidence of its reform, with the support of the United Kingdom.”
Human Rights Watch and BIRD published a joint report last October, confirming that the UK-backed Bahraini security services are accused of serious and ongoing human rights violations, and said that people have been tortured in the Bahraini Ministry of Interior and that two other bodies are receiving support. From the United Kingdom, they are the “Special Investigations Unit of the Home Office and the Ombudsman.”