I read with some dismay that on February 3 the island signed yet another mutually beneficial agreement with a country whose citizens and workers endure appalling human rights abuses.
Considering the recent events in Egypt and Tunisia, choosing to tell the world we were signing ‘a comprehensive double taxation agreement (DTA) and a memorandum of understanding on economic, trade and technical co-operation (MOU) with Bahrain, another area where ordinary people are neither free nor flourishing, seems like yet another PR own goal.
Manx people who want to know more about Bahrain’s poor human rights record, and in particular a crackdown on political dissent during a period when other Arabic dictatorships are collapsing, can read an Amnesty International report on Bahrain at www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE11/001/2011/en/cb766afa-fba0-4218-95ec-f4648b85e620/mde110012011en.pdf.
There will be ‘realists’ who say that human rights abuses, however unfortunate, cannot be allowed to hinder short term economical development, and that, perhaps, we just have to hold our noses and get on with it.
But shouldn’t the vast majority of us have a say in these matters too? On the evidence of the above alone, we could hardly be less informed than the ‘experts’ who cause us such a poor international reputation.