News ID: 107724
Publish Date : 12 October 2022 - 22:26

LONDON (MEMO) – The United Kingdom has funded Bahraini security services with millions, despite human rights violations including torture, drawing more criticism on the UK’s support for Persian Gulf monarchies.
In a report by the Telegraph newspaper on Tuesday, it was revealed that a freedom of information act request confirmed that the UK has been continuing a controversial fund by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) which is aimed at promoting the rule of law and human rights in the Persian Gulf Arab region.
Through that fund, named the Persian Gulf Strategy Fund (GSF), London has provided millions in taxpayer money to states like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over the past five years in a £70 million package.
While the fund has long been contentious and British MPs have urged the government to scrap it, the freedom of information act request now reveals that the government even failed to host ministerial consultation over any funding provided to Bahrain in the financial year 2020/2021.
The extent to which it supports Bahrain’s security services is also the focus of greater controversy, particularly following a joint report published by Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), which found that Manama committed serious human rights violations by recently sentencing eight men to death based on “forced” confessions extracted through torture. Those methods reportedly included electric shocks to the genitals, attempted rape, beating and sleep deprivation.
The Director of Advocacy at BIRD, Sayed Ahmed al-Wadaei, told the Telegraph that the UK and the FCDO may have broken their own rules by not properly assessing the fund’s financial support to Bahrain’s judicial system, especially with its use of capital punishment.
Under the UK’s own guidelines, he said, the government should either seek assurances that defendants will not face the death penalty or it should seek additional ministerial consultation regarding the continuation of funding. “In my belief the government is breaking its own rules when it comes to providing assistance to Bahrain,” al-Wadaei stated.

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