PRESS RELEASE – UK/Gulf: Theresa May should cancel meeting with GCC leaders over human rights concerns


IHRC has written to the British PM registering our dismay with her upcoming visit to Bahrain to meet with leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council on the sidelines of the organisation’s summit early next month.

Theresa May’s decision shows a glaring disregard for human rights and also a dangerous message of approval to the leaders of GCC regimes who continue to perpetrate human rights abuses against their own and other citizens.

in Bahrain the al-Khalifa regime continues to ignore the conclusions of an international commission of inquiry set up in 2011 to investigate the Arab Spring uprisings of that year in which Shia mosques and holy places were razed, doctors and opposition leaders arrested and tortured and tens of protestors killed.

None of the Inquiry’s main recommendations which include judicial and legislative reforms ensuring fair trials, an end to torture, and criminal accountability for rights violators have been implemented.

To the contrary is is business as usual for the regime. Arbitrary detentions of human rights and opposition leaders are contiuing with many being regularly arrested for speaking out against the government and tortured in custody.

The PM’s trip will also furnish another serial regional violator of human rights, Saudi Arabia,  with legitimacy for its ongoing war in Yemen. In its determination to see a puppet-regime across the border a Saudi-led coalition continues to commit atrocities against Yemeni civilians.

It has hit hospitals and schools, destroyed bridges, power stations, poultry farms, a key seaport and factories that produce yogurt, tea, tissues, ceramics, soft drinks and potato chips. It has bombed weddings and a funeral – last October coalition warplanes targeted a funeral gathering for a Houthi leader in Sanaa killing 140 people and injuring 550 more.

The letter states: “It is indeed an outrage that despite these widely documented atrocities committed by Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, you, your ministers and your government continue to supply both regime with arms helping them wreak human rights abuses, death and destruction, and war crimes on a systematic basis.”

Notes to editors:

The full text of the letter can be read online here

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IHRC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598
United Kingdom

Telephone (+44) 20 8904 4222
Twitter @ihrc