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British Newspaper: Royal Windsor Horse Show Faces Accusation for Being Funded by Bahrain

2018-12-06 - 9:23 p

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): The Guardian newspaper said that The UK's largest outdoor horse show, which is patronized by the Queen, faces accusations that it is being used by the Bahraini royal family to distract from human rights abuses.

Human rights campaigners are seeking to heap pressure on the organizers of the Royal Windsor Horse Show, which announced last week that the kingdom of Bahrain was sponsoring some RWHS events.

The complaint was lodged by the campaign group the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (Bird). The UK National Contact Point (UK NCP), which is based at the Department for International Trade, has invited Bird and HPower to engage in "structured mediation".

A complaint against the show's organizers, HPower Group, merits "further examination", according to the UK body with which allegations of British firms breaching Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) guidelines can be raised.

The Labour MP Andy Slaughter said: "The Bahraini government uses sponsorship of prestigious events like the Royal Windsor Horse Show to distract from its appalling human rights record and whitewash its continued collaboration with the UK on security and criminal justice.

"I am glad the complaint by Bird is being taken seriously, especially at a time when democracy and the rule of law in Bahrain are increasingly under threat."

Approached by the Guardian, HPower referred to a published initial UK NCP assessment.

"This clearly states that HPG has not infringed any human rights (para 24). We are engaged in the process being run by the NCP and therefore we are unable to comment any further," the company added.

The UK NCP found that a claim that HPower contributed to human rights abuses was unsubstantiated and said it would not be examined further unless new information emerges.

Sayed Alwadaei, the director of Bird, said: "The abuses of the Bahraini regime are well-documented. The Bahrain monarch's attendance at the RWHS coincides with severe human rights violations, such as interrogating and blackmailing activists' families.

"Family members, including my own, have been targeted because of protests against the king's visits. We now enter into a confidential process with the RWHS organisers on the issues raised in the authority's decision, so won't be making any comment on the mediation process beyond what is stated there."

The controversy comes as the show is preparing to return to the grounds of Windsor Castle in May and celebrate its 75th year.

The Queen has attended every show since the event was launched in 1943 to support a wartime campaign to raise money to purchase Hurricanes and Spitfires for the RAF.

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