Irish Company Refuses to Suspend Security Projects in Bahrain
2016-11-04 - 4:58 am
Bahrain Mirror: The British "Ekklesia" website reported, "Northern Ireland's Economy Minister has rejected calls to suspend security and justice projects with Bahrain and Egypt." This is despite its projects' contribution to the Human Rights violations in these two countries.
In addition, the website noted, "The international human rights group Reprieve wrote to Stormont's Economy Minister, Simon Hamilton, warning that a Northern Irish government-owned company, NI-CO, was involved in security and justice programs that risked complicity in torture and death sentences in the Middle East."
In his reply, the Minister claimed that responsibility lies with the UK Foreign Office and the European Union, who fund the multi-million pound projects, the website added.
On its part, the BBC website stated, "In a letter to the group [Reprieve], the minister said the executive was not in a position to suspend the company's work in Bahrain as it didn't award the contract."
The contract, worth £900,000 last year, was awarded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. "Mr. Hamilton said reviews of the company's activities in Bahrain indicated that the impact of its work to date had been "positive"," the BBC report went on to say.
"For as long as these awarding bodies continue to co-operate and identify the need for contracts in countries where reform is required, NI-CO will continue to deliver programs, sharing the learnings and experience of Northern Ireland to change attitudes, culture and behavior, with the ultimate aim of aligning these countries to the relevant international standards," he added.
On the other hand, Maya Foa, a director of Reprieve, said, "It's deeply alarming that the Minister has refused to suspend NI-CO's security work in Bahrain and Egypt, where Mohammed Ramadan and Ibrahim Halawa remain at risk of execution." She further indicated that the Irish government needs to "urgently take responsibility for what's being done in their name and not pass the buck onto Whitehall [House of Commons] or Westminster [British Government]."
"If the Minister will not suspend the program until the recipients start respecting international law, then the Economy Committee must launch its own inquiry to scrutinize the human rights risks that this work involves," ekklesia quoted her as saying.
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