After taking a hit from Max Mosley earlier today the FIA’s Carlos Gracia has been further criticised in the light of his inspection of Bahrain on behalf of Jean Todt.
Mosley had said Gracia doesn’t speak English and was not qualified to explore the human rights question.
Now the campaigning organisation Avaaz – which has organised on online petition to stop the race being re-instated – has mocked Gracia’s report with the following release, reproduced here in full:
‘Today, the global campaigning organization Avaaz released a leaked copy of the FIA Bahrain report which informed Formula One’s decision Friday to go ahead with the race despite human rights concerns.
‘Following a government-sponsored PR tour through Bahrain, FIA Commissioner Carlos Gracia concluded in his report that there is an “atmosphere of total calm and stability,” that “life in Bahrain is completely normal again,” and that “no human rights were violated,” contradicting numerous accounts of brutal repression and violence against doctors, nurses, and citizens.
‘Ricken Patel, Executive Director at Avaaz said: “Reading the FIA’s Bahrain report is like stepping into the Twilight Zone. While FIA’s sham report says that no human rights have been violated, at least 31 Bahrain citizens have been killed and hundreds more tortured and imprisoned. Formula One based their decision to race in Bahrain on this dangerously irresponsible report, a decision now universally opposed by the F1 teams. Formula One must pull out of Bahrain immediately or have their reputation forever tarnished.”
‘The report details Gracia’s visit to Bahrain in late May during which he visited only with government bodies, did not confer with credible human rights groups, and did not talk with injured people, torture victims, or families of the people who have died.
‘Maryam Al-Khawaja, from the independent Bahrain Center for Human Rights, on seeing the report today, said: “The report is disastrously unbalanced. The FIA has chosen to turn a blind eye to the ongoing violations in Bahrain. The government should allow independent human rights groups to do their work in Bahrain.”
‘Independent journalists and human rights organizations confirm that at least 31 people have been killed since the protests began on 14th February 2011, and more than 800 arrests have been made, including 108 members of the Grand Prix Circuit’s permanent staff. At a trial yesterday of 47 Bahraini medical staff who were arrested for treating injured people at protests, it was revealed that detainees are being tortured.’
FOTA has written to the FIA to confirm that the teams want to race in India rather than Bahrain on October 30.
2 responses to “FIA Bahrain report ‘dangerously irresponsible,’ says Avaaz”
This whole thing makes me wonder if this dude Garcia was setup. Consider: The guy supposedly doesn’t speak English, nor Arabic yet is sent to Bahrain to suss out whether it is safe enough to race there. So if the race takes place and something horrible were to occur, good ole’ Jean Todt can just say “Oops sorry, the person we sent, told us everything was cool, so hey lets blame/fire him”. This also seems a good way to deflect the controversy happening in real time now. “Well we sent an independent experienced person to inspect the situation and were told everything is a-ok so I don’t see the problem..? Oh you mean he doesn’t speak the language and was just a stooge? H mm didn’t know that, we will have to investigate and the full report will be available the day of the race at the track for $49.95 American.”
This whole mess has the feeling of falling down the rabbit hole. The impression is that no one wants blame, so the “hot potato” keeps being flung around.
Better men would have stood their ground and said, “No race.” Instead, we have the intrigue and jockeying between Bernie and Todt. FOTA has laid claim to a technicality (thankfully) but seemingly only to protect McLaren, Ferrari, et al, due to their commercial or sponsorship interests, from having to vote.
And Webber. The only participant in F1 to stick his neck out with an unequivocal statement. Sure, you can claim that he has little to lose as he may not return next year but so? He’s the only one to have stated a forceful opinion, no filter.
To say F1s not involved in politics, and then to see it mired in both internal and international politics…well, hopefully the sport can extricate itself from the long shadow of Bernie whence he leaves the sport, whether by infirmity or ouster (lol, I know).