Amnesty International warns Formula 1

28-10-2020 17:45 | Updated: 28-10-2020 20:10
F1 News
Amnesty International warns Formula 1

When it comes to human rights, Saudi Arabia is certainly not high on the list and that's why Amnesty International strongly criticizes any Formula 1 race in the country. There have long been plans to travel with the sport to the Middle East country and Saudi Arabia is in the process of attracting more events.

Poor reputation

At least that's what Amnesty International says, responding to the plans to organize a Formula 1 race on the streets of Jeddah. This circuit was presented on Monday as part of the preliminary calendar for 2021 writes This is an interim solution, as there are long-term plans to organize a race at the Al-Qiddiya Entertainment complex in capital Riyadh.

"Formula 1 should realise that a Saudi Grand Prix in 2021 would be part of ongoing efforts to sportswash the country’s abysmal human rights record," said Felix Jakens, head of Amnesty International campaigns in the UK.

"The failed attempt to buy Newcastle United obviously hasn’t deterred the Saudi authorities, who apparently still see elite-level sport as a means of rebranding their severely tarnished reputation," Jakens continues. "Despite the fanfare over Saudi women finally being allowed to drive a car without being arrested, the authorities have recently locked up and tortured several leading women’s rights activists - including Loujain al-Hathloul and Nassima al-Sada."

No discrimination

"If a Saudi Grand Prix goes ahead, at the very least F1 should insist that all contracts contain stringent labour standards across all supply chains, and that all race events are open to everyone without discrimination." Jakens also calls for people in the sport to make themselves heard and show solidarity with the people whose rights are being violated.

Formula 1 did not want to respond to Jakens' comments because the Grand Prix has not been officially confirmed, but was able to say the following: "We take our responsibilities very seriously and have made our position on human rights and other issues clear to all our partners and host countries who commit to respect these rights in the way their events are hosted and delivered."

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