Human rights campaigning organisation Avaaz – one of the leading groups that has held a critical stance over the reinstatement of the Bahrain Grand Prix – has leaked the FIA report tabled by Vice President Carlos Gracia that endorsed the return of the race to this year’s F1 calendar.
The details of the report – which you can read in its entirety here – makes for interesting reading.
Gracia concluded in his report that there is an “atmosphere of total calm and stability,” that “life in Bahrain is completely normal again,” and that “no human rights were violated,” completely contradicting the countless reports of brutal repression and violence against doctors, nurses, and members of the public.
The first page of the leaked report – click here to read the full version
Describing the report as a “sham”, Avaaz’s Executive Director Ricken Patel said: “Formula One based their decision to race in Bahrain on this dangerously irresponsible report, a decision now universally opposed by the F1 teams. [It] must pull out of Bahrain immediately or have their reputation forever tarnished.
“He visited only with government bodies, did not confer with credible human rights groups, and did not talk with injured people, torture victims, or families of the people who have died,” Patel added.
“The report is disastrously unbalanced,” added Maryam Al-Khawaja, from the independent Bahrain Center for Human Rights.
“The FIA has chosen to turn a blind eye to the ongoing violations in Bahrain. The government should allow independent human rights groups to do their work in Bahrain.”
Gracia’s report contained some clear omissions of particularly important information. It never specifies the number of civilian casualties who were either injured or killed in the anti-government clashes, and the only deaths mentioned were those to members of the country’s police forces.
Gracia’s report acknowledged on several occasions that “mistakes were made on both sides” (referring to the antigovernment protestors and security forces representing the government), but offers no further insight or critical analysis as to what these mistakes may have been, or what steps the government is taking to prevent their reoccurrence.
The report also denied claims that up to 25% of the Bahrain International Circuit’s workforce had been dismissed for their support of the anti-government protests, with the report claiming that circuit officials had dismissed 15 staff members for being on extended absence from work. However, there are plenty of independent reports claiming that many circuit staff were arrested and detained for lengthy periods for allegedly supporting the opposition movement.
Read into this what you will. There will no doubt be more to come from this…