HRW Accuses Prince Charles of Not Caring About the “Crushing of Dissent” in Bahrain
2016-10-18 - 1:03 am
Bahrain Mirror: Human Rights Watch (HRW) accusing the Prince of Wales of not caring enough about the "crushing of dissent" in Bahrain as details of his trip to the Gulf state were announced
According to BT News, Human Rights Watch also criticised the Government, which requested Charles and Camilla tour the region, for standing "squarely and cravenly" behind the Bahrain administration, which has been accused of a string of abuses since pro-democracy protesters were violently suppressed during the Arab Spring of 2011.
Also, Amnesty International UK called on the heir to the throne to speak out about universal values like free speech and open debate when in the Middle East, the website added.
The campaigning organization, HRW, has described Bahrain's human rights climate as remaining ''highly problematic'' on its website. It further added, "'The country's courts convict and imprison peaceful dissenters and have failed to hold officials accountable for torture and other serious rights violations."
Moreover, the BT website indicated that It is understood that the Prince and Duchess are aware of concerns organizations have raised about human rights in Bahrain.
According to a HRW spokesman, "Prince Charles has been an active advocate for the causes that are close to his heart, so he clearly doesn't care too much about the crushing of dissent and the jailing of activists in Bahrain.
"The Prince will no doubt have ardent support for this trip from the British Government who have stood squarely and cravenly behind the Bahrainis as they have dismantled civil society and locked up their critics," the HRW representative added.
Head of policy and government affairs at Amnesty International UK, Allan Hogarth, said, "We're not expecting Prince Charles to reinvent himself as a human rights campaigner on this trip, but we hope he'll use some of his time to speak about universal values like free speech and open debate."
Hogarth added, "In particular when Prince Charles meets King Hamad we'd like him to raise the plight of Nabeel Rajab. Mr Rajab is facing a lengthy prison sentence for his online remarks about the torture of detainees in Bahraini jails as well as the country's role in the controversial conflict in Yemen." He further noted that sadly, "UK ministers have recently bent over backwards to paint a picture of Bahrain as a country pushing ahead with 'reforms' - the much darker truth is that it's a country hounding and locking up its dissidents."
However, the British Government's relationship with Bahrain was criticized in a report by the Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee published in April, the news website went on to say.
In addition, Members of Parliament said there was "plainly a perception'' that the issue of human rights had been downgraded in the Government's dealings with countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain.
In response to the MPs' criticism, the then foreign secretary Philip Hammond defended his Ministry, saying, "Improving human rights is a core function of the Foreign Office and is the responsibility of every British diplomat around the world."
Complete details of the royal couple's itinerary have yet to be finalized so it is not yet known if they will meet Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, who has known the Queen and her family for many years, or senior politicians.
The website also highlighted that there is a precedent for Charles responding to concerns about human rights in foreign countries, as last year he was praised by a campaigning group when he took the decision to raise the plight of jailed Saudi blogger Raif Badawi with Saudi Arabia's King Salman.
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