government have done something right. Hoorah. On the Andrew Marr show, Deputy
Prime Minister Nick Clegg said that any individual that has
abused human rights would not be able to enter the country. He specifically spoke
about the Olympics and clarified that that any athletes from the Syrian
delegation who had connections (or supported) Bashar al-Assad's regime would be
banned from entering the UK.
don't need to say it but this is a fantastic move on the part of the British
government. As a country, we shouldn't be welcoming those who are involved in
torture, mass murder or a string of further abuses, as is the case with
al-Assad's regime. And the same can be said of the leaders of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia,
a number of other countries.
the government are serious about this, they need to prove it. In Bahrain, citizens
have been protesting peacefully for over a year, and one person was shot and
killed on the very first day. In a continuation of the brutal tactics, King
Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa then brought in tanks from Saudi Arabia to viciously
crush the non-violent movement. Tom Malinowski, director of the Washington,
D.C. office of Human Rights Watch, dubbed Bahrain "Prison Island" and writes that in
response for taking part in peaceful demonstrations, protesters can expect to
be either arrested, tortured, thrown off a building onto a balcony, tear-gassed
or a mixture of the above. So why, just over 10 days ago, was King Hamad at the Queen's
diamond jubilee celebrations sharing a joke with Her Majesty?
Iranian leaders should also be banned from the UK for sending in forces to
although I don't think that would be too difficult for the British government.
Yemen, after enduring protests in which many of those involved were killed, the
people elected the former Vice President Abd Rabu Mansur Hadi - as he was the
only person on the ballot. The deal which lead to Ali Abdullah Saleh's
resignation was backed by the European
even though it consisted of giving amnesty to all crimes committed by the former
president and thereby broke UN Security Council
Resolution 2014 ("all those responsible for violence, human rights violations and
abuses should be held accountable.") With abstention votes being ignored, and many security
commanders unchanged from the previous regime, human rights abusers are
plentiful in the country. Britain should not only ban those involved from
entering the country, but also demand that they be tried under international
law for war crimes.
don't get me started on Saudi Arabia - who aren't even sending any
athletes, and have been denying women
opportunities to play sport in the country for many years. Apart from sending tanks to
seek permission from their "male guardians" before travelling or studying and
where a fair trial is not commonplace. And rather than banning the team from entering,
on 23 May BAE sold the country twenty-two Hawk trainer jets in a £1.9bn deal. To top it off, Prime Minister David Cameron
said the deal was "more good news for British jobs, for British investment and
British Aerospace". Fabulous.
about Israel, a British ally, who arrested a member of the Palestinian national
football team three years ago and is still held without trial
or any charges? Forget the confining of citizens within the Gaza strip and Operation
teams without a trial doesn't particularly fit in with that message, does it?
how's our record? It turns out that we can put TPIMs on suspects and detain
someone for up to two years without charge, we arrested activists before the Royal Wedding because of a suspicion
that they may protest, we found out that the police are using
heavy-handed tactics during protests, and that we were complicit in torture in Libya. We still have
some work to do on the human rights front, then.
new move by the British government has the potential be an excellent one, a
broad claim that Britain will not welcome anyone involved with human rights
abuses. The biggest problem is that we work closely with many countries that
are extremely guilty of human rights abuses. If Britain wants to be seen as serious,
they need to be consistent. Yes, it will lead to a number of countries lacking
participants but it will show that the British government does not support
those countries in any way. It's no wonder that I'm not too hopeful...