British trade unions have launched a campaign calling for an independent audit of the UK government aid to Bahrain and an expose of “widespread and systematic” human rights abuses.
The Universities and Colleges Union (UCU), with the support of the Bahrain institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) and MENA Solidarity, on Thursday (September 24, 2015) initiated an open letter which stated that the signatories were “appalled about the deteriorating human rights situation in Bahrain, and call upon the UK government to take immediate practical steps to end the suffering of civilians there.”
“Bahrain continues to receive support from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, with the budget for assistance rising in 2015 from £1.5M in 2014 to £2.1M in 2015,” it added.
“We are shocked that there has been no independent assessment made for this spending of public money despite a clear deterioration in Bahrain’s human rights record,” the union further stated.
“We call on such an assessment to be made and for the FCO to take on a more critical stance against violations of basic rights,” it stressed.
The unions signing the letter included the biggest trade union, UNITE the Union, second biggest trade union, Unison, and host of others.
Ahmed Ali, head of legal affairs at BIRD, said that continued UK government aid to Bahrain reflected a willful ignorance of continuing human rights abuses in the Kingdom.
“They say that Bahrain is on the path to reform, while the foreign affairs select committee and other bodies are saying otherwise,” he added.
“They’ve kept to that line.”