Criticism Raised over UK Base Established by Sectarian BDF

2016-11-15 - 4:16 am

Bahrain Mirror- Exclusive: Speaking to CommonSpace, Sayed Ahmed Al-Wadaei, director of advocacy at Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (Bird), said: "The UK continually claims to support human rights in Bahrain, but to what result? Britain has only gotten friendly with a regime which has escalated its repression in the past year."

Al-Wadaei added "British values are dead and buried, and this paid-for naval base is their graveyard. It is a shame to see Prince Charles allowing himself to be a part of this public relations game."

The website further stated "As part of the four-day trip, the Duke of Rothesay's function was to maintain diplomatic good will during the bases construction. It is due to be fully operational by November next year."

Through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request submitted to the MOD, Bird discovered that the UK Government plans to spend a further £6.4m on the base. The figure projected by sources in the Foreign Office, is that the base will cost £30m.

The CommonSpace indicated "In addition to the base being covered by the diplomatic and military support of the Bahraini regime, it is being constructed and policed by the BDF, which has been criticised for its anti-Shia sectarianism."

"In the opening ceremony yesterday [Thursday 10 November] the heir apparent christened the UK base which Ministry of Defence (MOD) officials confirmed had been "gifted" by Bahrain in order for the UK to gain strategic influence in the Persian Gulf," the website said.

It continued "Both the prince and the UK Government have been criticized for associations with the Bahraini regime, which has used the Bahrain Defence Force (BDF), a sectarian state militia, to put down democratic protests since the 2011 Arab Spring."

Bahrain was put on to the list of "priority countries" in a report compiled by the Foreign and CommonWealth Office human rights project. Human Rights Watch, MPs and campaigners have argued that the establishment ties between Bahrain and the UK are preventing the country's appalling human rights abuses from being focused upon.

When contacted by CommonSpace, Clarence House, the Prince of Wales' residence and estate, said that they had "no comment" on the details of the diplomatic trip.

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المصدر: Bahrain Mirror
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