Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Airshow organizers under fire from human rights group. (UK)

January 17, 2012
By Tim Harris

A Farnborough-based company has come under fire for its involvement in this weekend's Bahrain International Airshow.

The Bahrain Freedom Movement has called to organizers of the event, which is billed for next weekend (Jan 19-21), to call off the show in light of recent unrest in the country.

Farnborough International Limited help organize the air show, by advising the Civil Aviation Authority in Bahrain.

The London-based Freedom Movement does not feel it is right the Bahrain Air Show should be held after the widely-documented problems Bahrain has experienced over recent months.

Sunnah Akhtar, of the Bahrain Freedom Movement, said: “Due to the widespread political unrest in the country and the number of deaths of peaceful demonstrators, we call for the boycott of the 2012 Bahrain Airshow.

“The air show should be boycotted in light of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry that found government officials had committed a number of human rights violations during the crackdown of pro-democracy protesters.

“A government that has been found guilty of using excessive force and torture should not be allowed to host such an event.”

The comments made by the Freedom Movement refer to the pro-democracy protests in Bahrain during 2011, where a number of civilians were killed.

The Bahrain government later admitted excessive force was used by security forces in controlling the protests.

Farnborough International Ltd has responded to opposition of the Bahrain International Air Show, and said it does not have the power to decide the fate of the air show.

Philippa Ewart, of Farnborough International Ltd, said: “Farnborough International Limited are engaged as consultants to the Civil Aviation Authority in Bahrain, organizers of the Bahrain International Airshow.

“Therefore the decision as to whether or not the show should go ahead does not lie with Farnborough International Ltd.”

The Formula 1 2011 Bahrain Grand Prix was cancelled due to the unrest in the country at the time. The motorsport organization has said the 2012 race will go ahead.

“The cancellation of the 2011 Bahrain Grand Prix last year is testimony to the fact that events due to be hosted in countries where human rights are violated should not be accepted by the international community,” added Mr Akhtar.

“With the people of Bahrain being detained, subjected to acts of torture, their human rights violated and their constant calls for democracy ignored, the international community should press for the  boycott of the air show.”

Source:   http://www.gethampshire.co.uk

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