NGO Campaign Report on F1 Race in Bahrain

A large coalition of NGOs have been working in cooperation over the last several months to stop the F1 race from going forward in Bahrain. The events surrounding this event are considered to not only be an unacceptable show of support for the authorities from the international community, but the race has also proven to be a cause of further human rights violations. Over the course of the campaign, several NGOs helped contribute to the success of the activities listed below, including Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, Bahrain Watch, the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights, and the European Bahraini Organization for Human Rights.

The activities of the F1 campaign can be summarized by the following:

A complaint against UK-based Formula 1 management, teams and sponsors under the Guidelines of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development was filed by ADHRB.

More information about the OECD complaint can be found via the link below:

http://adhrb.org/2014/03/adhrb-files-oecd-complaint-against-formula-one-activities-in-bahrain/

An Early Day Motion (EDM 1194) was sponsored by MP Ms. Katy Clark. BIRD and Bahrain Watch coordinated meetings with Ms. Clark to lobby her support, and participated actively in the lobbying of other MPs to sign onto the motion. EDM 1194 which opposes the staging of the 2014 Bahrain Grand Prix was also co-sponsored by 5 other MPs and currently has 29 signatories.

Follow this link to read EDM 1194:

http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2013-14/1194

A Thunderclap social media campaign was launched by the Committee to Protect Journalists in association with Reporters without Borders. This was supported and followed closely by all regulating bodies. Although the campaign still has 6 days remaining, it has a registered social reach of 2,457,217 people and 201 out of the 250 aimed supporters. In addition, the social media campaign was further endorsed by the IFEX network, advocating for free expression for all, particularly media workers, citizen journalists, activists, artists and scholars.

Follow this link to support and review the Thunderclap initiative:

https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/10068-bahrain-racing-in-circles

Follow this link to see the IFEX endorsement of the Thunderclap:

http://ifex.org/bahrain/2014/03/26/racing_f1/

A press conference was hosted by BIRD on 20.03.2014, chaired by MP Ms. Katy Clark. Event speakers included Maryam Al-Khawaja (Acting President of BCHR), Daniel Carey (Human Rights and Civil Solicitor) and Nick McGeehan (Human Rights Watch). Two MP offices were also represented at the event.

Follow this link to read more about the event:

http://birdbh.org/2014/03/british-mp-chairs-formula-one-implications-in-bahrain-event-at-portcullis-house/

A campaign video highlighting the implications of the F1 Grand Prix in Bahrain was created by Bahrain Watch and showcased at the BIRD hosted event on 20.03.2014. This video received 3,302 views and 49 likes on YouTube.

Follow this link to view this campaign video:

Dorset Band, Magic Drum Orchestra, used the BIRD hosted event on 20.03.2014 to announce their firm rejection to Bahrain in response to an invitation made by the Bahraini government, asking them to play at the Formula One event. They also took this opportunity to dedicate a song in solidarity to the Bahraini people, deploring the human rights violations in Bahrain. This song was followed by 8037 hits on YouTube and 285 likes.

Follow this link to listen to Magic Drum Orchestra’s Bahrain inspired song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxUH1d0vPiQ

With regards to press coverage, BCHR’s Maryam Al-Khawaja was successful in obtaining an interview with both The Guardian and Open Democracy. The Guardian published an article titled “Dissident says taking Formula One to Bahrain increases human rights abuses” and Open Democracy, an article titled “Britain and Bahrain: Still Allied Against Democracy and Human Rights”.

Follow this link to read The Guardian article:

http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2014/mar/27/formula-one-bahrain-grand-prix-human-rights-abuses

Follow this link to read the Open Democracy article:

http://www.opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening/david-wearing/britain-and-bahrain-still-allied-against-democracy-and-human-rights

BIRD coordinated the sending of over 100 letters to F1 sponsors, teams and management urging them to withdraw from the Grand Prix in Bahrain due to human rights violations. This included a letter to Jean Todt, President of the FIA.

Follow this link to see the letters that were sent:

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B5CDE4Zrm7UjOHBBX1laaWVLRXNYcHVSVWw1TVlhRHdrVHZv/edit

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