Rights Groups Launch Campaign on Eve of Formula One Race to Highlight Human Rights Abuses in Bahrain

WASHINGTON, DC – April 10, 2013 – Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain, in conjunction with the International Federation for Human Rights, Freedom House, Human Rights First, Just Foreign Policy, Physicians for Human Rights, and the Project on Middle East Democracy, has launched a campaign to raise awareness of the ongoing human rights abuses in Bahrain in advance of the upcoming Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix.

ADHRB and participating organizations sent a letter to Formula One drivers asking them to pledge their support for a free and just Bahrain by publicly condemning the ongoing human rights abuses. Drivers are encouraged to state their support during interviews at the Grand Prix, publish a statement on their website, express their solidarity via social media, or publicly dedicate their race to one of the many prisoners of conscience still imprisoned in Bahrain.

“While in Bahrain, we hope that participants of the Bahrain Grand Prix will take the time to learn about the ongoing human rights abuses and arbitrary detention of prisoners of conscience,” said ADHRB Director Husain Abdulla. “Although the President of Formula One, Bernie Ecclestone, said that he received reports that everything is back to normal in Bahrain, it is clear that his information comes from unreliable sources,” Abdulla added. “The truth is that the Bahrain government has been engaged in many of the same abuses that the international community condemned it for after Bahrain’s security forces launched a brutal crackdown against peaceful protests in 2011.”

The campaign launch comes on the heels of recent reports that the Government of Bahrain has begun arresting opposition activists in towns near the Formula One circuit, an action which has received condemnation from the international community and human rights organizations.

“We are deeply concerned that human rights violations are happening as a direct result of the Bahrain Grand Prix,” Abdulla said. “It is our hope that the participating Formula One drivers, who have the freedom to travel to Bahrain and participate in the race, will speak out for those who have been punished for exercising their right to free speech,” said Abdulla.


Please click here for a PDF of this statement.