Our government must not look the other way as Bahrain commits gross violations of human rights

20 May 2011

The Muslim Council of Britain today expressed its deep disquiet at our government’s apparent inconsistency in foreign and human rights policy.

The Bahraini Crown Prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa’s visit to Britain and his meeting with our Prime Minister in Downing Street today flies in the face of British commitments to democratic change in the Middle East. It is untenable that we are prepared to take robust action to protect civilian populations from the actions of brutal regimes in some countries and not others. For the last month the news from Bahrain has been one of security forces using live ammunition on civilian protesters, destruction of mosques, brutal treatment of opposition figures and even medical staff in hospitals.

In February, our Prime Minister said “Frankly, we need a lot less of the passive tolerance of recent years and much more active, muscular liberalism.” Amongst his criteria for engagement included a demand that people sign up to universal human rights. For Bahrain, these criteria seem to have been suspended.

The Muslim Council of Britain urges the Government to cease turning a blind eye to human rights abuses in Bahrain. We are also deeply perturbed by recent media reports that the Bahraini government has targeted pro-democracy campaigners in Manchester.