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February 14th, 2012
An All-Party Group from the British parliament has expressed its disagreement with calls to cancel the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Last week, members of the House of Lords wrote to the FIA to urge the governing body to cancel April’s grand prix amid continued unrest in the kingdom.
In another letter published by The Times today, the UK-Bahrain All-Party Parliamentary Group said it believes that the grand prix is an incentive for Bahrain to prove “its sincerity in the cause of reform” of the country. The letter argues that the cancellation of the grand prix would do the cause of reform “no service”.
All-Party Groups are informal cross-party groups that have no official status within parliament.
“Bahrain has been conveniently lumped together with other nations and labelled part of the ‘Arab Spring’,” the group said in a letter published by The Times.
“Yet the response of the government of Bahrain has been notably different. Bahrain invited independent human rights lawyers, the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), to investigate and has started to implement its recommendations.
“In addition to elections that have led to a four-fold increase in women elected to parliament, Bahrain has also asked John Timoney, the former New York police chief, and John Yates, the former assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, to overhaul policing, Sir Daniel Bethlehem, the FCO’s former principal legal adviser, to review judicial processes, and opened detention facilities for inspection by the Red Crescent.
“Those who want Bahrain to continue on the path of genuine reform will do the cause no service by cancelling the Grand Prix this year.
“Indeed, surely the presence of thousands of Western visitors and journalists in the run-up to and during the event will act as an additional incentive to the authorities in Bahrain to show the international community its sincerity in the cause of reform and that their support for Bahrain is well placed?”
Meanwhile, violence escalated on the anniversary of last year’s uprising. The BBC reports that security forces fired tear gas and stun grenades at protesters who gathered in the kingdom’s capital Manama.