Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Amnesty International urge F1 stars to take a stand for human rights in UAE
Ahead of this week’s Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix, Amnesty International have called on the Emirati regime to ‘step up to the modern image it wants to project’ and end its ‘relentless’ crackdown on peaceful dissents.
Set to take place between 23-25 November, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is an annual event in the Formula One calendar. In recent years the race has come under heavy criticism from rights groups, who say that it serves to whitewash human rights abuses in the UAE.
“As the world tunes in to watch the final race of the Formula One Grand-Prix season and attend glitzy music concerts, they should know that the UAE authorities have also been racing to silence critics and human rights defenders,” said Samid Hadid, Amnesty International’s Middle East Campaigns Director
Citing the cases of Ahmed Mansoor, Dr. Nasser bin Ghaith, Osama al-Najjar and Mohammed al-Roken, Amnesty urged those taking part in the event to publicly call for the release of prisoners of conscience in the UAE:
“Today, we call on Formula One Grand-Prix drivers, teams and performers to be the champions of human rights on the circuit and on the entertainment stage. They should be the voice of those who have been silenced and unfairly detained.
We urge racing teams and performers to call on the UAE authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all prisoners of conscience who have been detained solely for peacefully criticizing the authorities, or for calling for respect for human rights.”
This demand has been echoed in an open statement co-signed by dozens of NGOs, including the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, Amnesty International and the Martin Ennals Foundation, which called on drivers to “tweet, post and speak about their stories online and in your media appearances so that these prisoners are not forgotten. You can use the hashtags #AbuDhabiGP #F1 and #Formula1.”