The UK’s Labour Party has called on Formula One to take action over its financial relationship with the country. The organization is currently sponsoring a race in Saudi Arabia following an outcry from activists, who have criticized the government for spending £40 million on hosting this year’s F1 Grand Prix.
JEDDAH, JEDDAH, JEDDAH, JEDDAH, JEDD A number of British lawmakers have written to Formula One CEO Stefano Domenicali, urging him to take action in response to Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.
Human rights organizations have accused Saudi Arabia of “sportswashing” ahead of the maiden Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Sunday in Jeddah.
Four members of the House of Commons and three members of the House of Lords stated the death sentence is still being employed in Saudi Arabia against youngsters, non-violent criminals, and persons expressing their right to free expression.
The letter to Domenicali said, “Staging a race in Jeddah without addressing these severe breaches of international law risks being perceived as an implicit acceptance of them.”
Getty Images/Bryn Lennon – Formula 1/Formula 1
“As a tremendously successful worldwide brand that puts on athletic events for millions of people, Formula One has an ethical responsibility to guarantee that its presence in a country does not serve as a cover for human rights violations.”
“We encourage you [F1] to use the Saudi Grand Prix as a chance to promote serious human rights reform in the Kingdom by openly calling on the authorities to eliminate the death sentence for all youth crimes and non-violent offenses, with no exceptions,” it said.
Mustafa al-Darwish, who was 17 years old when he was jailed for protest-related offenses such “sowing discord,” was killed on June 15, according to the letter. According to the letter, his conviction was based on a false testimony made after he was tortured for days.
“For decades, Formula One has worked hard to be a good influence wherever it races, including economic, social, and cultural advantages,” an F1 representative stated when asked for a reaction to the letter. Sports like Formula One are perfectly positioned to bring nations and communities together to enjoy the passion and thrill of extraordinary competition and success across borders and cultures.
“We take our rights duties extremely seriously and establish high ethical standards for counterparties and individuals in our supply chain, which are incorporated in contracts and to which we pay careful attention.”
Amnesty International, a human rights organization, has accused Sunday’s race of deflecting attention away from Saudi Arabia’s “dismal” human rights record.
Amnesty International states that after hosting the G20 Summit in 2020, Saudi Arabia began its assault on free speech, and that 39 people remain imprisoned in the country for exercising their right to freedom of expression, association, and assembly.
“Over the last few years, the Saudi Arabian authorities have invested heavily in PR stunts to rebrand their image and attempt to deflect attention from their brutal crackdown on activists and human rights defenders,” said Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa regional director.
“While there was a temporary respite in the killings and trials of activists during Saudi Arabia’s leadership of the G20 conference, this was quickly followed by a resumption of persecution by the government.”
“The Saudi Arabian authorities must recognize that the strongest public relations come from upholding human rights.
“If the authorities wish to change people’s minds, they should promptly and unconditionally free all individuals imprisoned for peacefully expressing their opinions, abolish all travel prohibitions, and put a moratorium on the death sentence.”
“Foreign countries seeking to strengthen relationships with Saudi Arabia should press the leadership to rectify the country’s appalling human rights record.”
“Any corporation conducting important events in Saudi Arabia, including Formula 1 and its Grand Prix races, must identify, mitigate, or prevent any human rights violations that it may cause, contribute to, or be directly connected to via its activities, goods, and services.”