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UK MPs to probe human rights situation in Persian Gulf Arab states

A group of UK lawmakers have formed a group to scrutinize the status of democracy and human right in the Arab states of the Persian Gulf region, a Scottish MP says.

Margaret Ferrier made the announcement Monday, following a seminar by Amnesty International.

The seminar was about the way some Arab countries in the Persian Gulf region were stripping political activists of their nationalities as a punishment.

According to a press release by the International Campaign for Freedom in the United Arab Emirates (ICFUAE), the all-party parliamentary group, headed by Ferrier, “will address the increasing concerns around the human rights violations in the UAE and other Gulf countries.”

The statement also slammed the UK for its ties with some of the Arab kingdoms despite blacklisting them as violators of human rights.

“The strong ties that the UK government holds with the [Persian] Gulf countries raise ethical questions due to their human rights record,” the statement read.

In late October, the Persian Gulf monarchy of Bahrain imprisoned and revoked the citizenship of 15 people after convicting them of terror charges, as part of its heavy-handed crackdown against a years-long popular uprising.

London, however, has been continuing its unconditional support for Manama, providing the ruling Al Khalifah regime and its security forces with training and lethal weapons.

A Bahraini protester carries his country’s flag during anti regime protests. (File photo)

According to the ICFUAE, which was launched to support calls for free elections in UAE, the UK has maintained its relations with the regime despite its mistreatment of activists.

“Since 2011, the UAE government has clamped down on the rights to freedom of expression, fair trial and freedom from torture, affecting Emirati activists and foreign citizens alike,” the group said.

According to a joint analysis by The Independent and Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT), between 2010-2015, the British government has sold £10 billion in arms licenses to at least 39 of the 51 countries that have been ranked “not free” on the US-based Freedom House’s “Freedom in the world” report.

London has gone a step further and sold £7.9 billion worth of arms deals with 22 of the 30 countries that have been blacklisted on the UK government’s own human rights watch list.

Saudi Arabia, Israel and Bahrain were some of the customers on the controversial government list.


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