It is just two weeks since the Manx government trumpeted a new series of economic agreements with the Gulf State of Bahrain.
In the past few days we are seeing just what sort of countries the Manx government and some in the financial services sector are happy to do business with as the Bahrain regime headed by a despotic ruler, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, have murdered and injured peaceful demonstrators seeking justice and democracy.
It is not as if the Manx government will not have been aware that the Bahrain regime has a chequered human rights record.
Even the United States (which is an ally of the Bahrain government and has a military base there) could not gloss over its human rights record. The 2009 US State Department Country Report on Human Rights in Bahrain said:
“Citizens did not have the right to change their government. The government restricted civil liberties, including freedoms of speech, press, assembly, association, and some religious practices. Domestic violence against women and
children persisted, as did discrimination on the basis of gender, religion, nationality, and sect, especially against the Shia majority population. Trafficking in persons and restrictions on the rights of foreign resident workers remained problems.”
The full report can be accessed on the link below:
In addition respected Human Rights body, Amnesty International, said in November 2010 some weeks before the new Manx accord with Bahrain:
“Amnesty International has called on the Bahraini authorities to investigate fresh allegations of torture made by some of the 23 detained opposition activists accused of terrorism and plotting to overthrow the government.
According to their lawyers the activists said they had been beaten in prison, deprived of sleep and forced to remain standing for long periods following the first session of their trial on 28 October.
The abuses are said to have been committed to punish the defendants for telling the trial court at its first session that they had been tortured in pre-trial detention following their arrests in August and September.”
Full report can be accessed on the link below:
Such niceties as the denial of democracy and human rights abuse do not seem to bother the Manx government however, as on the 3rd of February the Manx Treasury Minister announced:
“I was delighted to be invited to Bahrain for the signing of these two important agreements. Bahrain is a key financial hub in the Middle East, and today’s agreements will greatly facilitate the development of business and investment
opportunities between Bahrain and the Isle of Man.”
No doubt the peaceful demonstrators, bludgeoned, tear-gassed and fired on by Bahrain’s police and army over the past few days will have a somewhat more realistic view of the Manx government’s new friends in the Gulf.
Early reports on Celtic News expressing concern about Manx links to the Gulf States:
J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information