Thirty UK MPs deliver letter to F1 boss Chase Carey urging F1 to ‘put people above profit and human rights above racing’ over Bahrain Grand Prix and government’s ‘sportswashing’
- Sir Ed Davey and Caroline Lucas are among MPs to have signed the letter
- The letter urges F1 chief Chase Carey to implement its human rights policy
- Bahrain will host back-to-back Formula One races over the next two weekends
- World champion Lewis Hamilton says the sport can no longer ignore the human rights records of countries the sport attends
Thirty MPs have urged Formula One to ‘put people above profit and human rights above racing’ ahead of back-to-back races in Bahrain over the next two weekends.
In their letter, addressed to F1 chief executive Chase Carey, politicians have come-together to call upon the sport to implement its human rights policy, following concerns over Bahrain’s record.
Signatories including Liberal Democrats leader Sir Ed Davey and former Green Party leader Caroline Lucas have expressed a ‘concern that the Bahrain Grand Prix is exploited by Bahrain’s government to “sportswash” their human rights record.’
Bahrain will host back-to-back Formula One Grands Prix over the next two weekends
Yet MPs have urged F1 boss Chase Carey to implement the sport’s human rights policy
Liberal Democrats leader Sir Ed Davey (left) and former Green Party leader Caroline Lucas are among the 30 MPs to have signed the letter
‘It’s deeply disappointing that we haven’t seen more progress from F1 when it comes to sports washing and Bahrain’s human rights record,’ said Layla Moran MP, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesperson who sent the letter on behalf of the 30 signatories.
‘We can’t let human rights ever be a secondary consideration.
‘They must care for Bahrainis negatively impacted by the Grand Prix as much as they do for participants. We can’t let human rights ever be a secondary consideration.
‘That’s why we’re calling on Formula 1 to use its leverage to compel Bahrain to end the suppression of protests against the race, secure redress for victims and ensure the rights of Bahraini citizens are defended.’
MPs have a concern that the Bahrain Grand Prix is ‘exploited by Bahrain’s government to “sportswash” their human rights record’
F1 made a promise in 2015 to respect human rights in operations around the world, following an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) complaint by Americans For Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB), and Moran has called for Carey’s organisation to uphold that.
The letter follows world champion Lewis Hamilton’s recent that F1 can no longer ‘ignore’ the human rights records of countries the sport attends, following the addition of Saudi Arabia to the calendar next year.
Lucas added: ‘When F1’s most successful driver is speaking out about human rights, it is shameful that F1 is continuing to allow its Bahraini partners to ‘sportswash’ their abysmal human rights record.
Lewis Hamilton insists the sport can no longer ignore the human rights record of countries
‘It is people like Salah Abbas and her son Kameel who are paying the price for this. I hope this letter helps to spotlight the need for F1 to urgently intervene on their behalf ahead of this week’s races in Bahrain.’
For the first time since it first staged an F1 race in 2004, Bahrain will host back-to-back events as part of the truncated 2020 season, reorganised due to the coronavirus crisis.
Various human rights groups have criticised the event for years for enabling the Bahrain government to ‘sportswash’ its reputation, with prominent female activist Najah Yusuf jailed in 2017 for opposing the race on social media.