The Isle of Man government is unrepentant about its decision to strengthen business links with Bahrain.
The Celtic League wrote to the Manx government in February querying the decision to formalise bilateral arrangements with the despotic Gulf State (see links):
In their reply the Manx government describe Bahrain as a State with which it is internationally acceptable to do business and also that it is (like the Isle of Man) on an OECD “white list”.
However, a report by the influential human rights body HRW described the situation in Bahrain as deteriorating before the recent well-publicised street protests in which peaceful demonstrators were murdered by security police.
HRW said in its 2010 report that:
“Human rights conditions in Bahrain deteriorated sharply in the latter half of 2010. Starting in mid-August authorities detained an estimated 250 persons, including nonviolent critics of the government, and shut down websites and publications of legal opposition political societies.
Authorities detained 25 of the most prominent opposition activists and accused many of them of “spreading false information” and “meeting with outside organizations.” Some rights activists were among those held and allegedly tortured. Authorities prevented detainees from meeting with their lawyers prior to the first session of their trial, and allowed only extremely brief meetings with some family members.
This crackdown came after months of street protests, which often involved burning tires and throwing stones and Molotov cocktails. Among the first people arrested were activists who had just participated in a public meeting in London where they criticized Bahrain’s human rights record.”
The report goes on to detail torture and ill-treatment by Bahrain’s security services.
The HRW report can be accessed here:
Of even greater concern is the record of this State, with which the Isle of Man government think it is acceptable to do business, in relation to children.
Bahrain Human Rights (BHR) say that children in the country are subject to phsyical and sexual abuse, abuction, arbitary detention and unfair trial. On the BHR website they publish photographs of some of the victims and graphic detail of the apalling injuries inflicted on some of them (see link):
J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information