Queen hosts royal tyrants at Diamond Jubilee

Celebrations tarnished by invites to dictator monarchs

Invitations should be withdrawn – Royal despots not welcome

London – 17 May 2012

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has condemned the Queen's decision to invite "dictator monarchs" to her Diamond Jubilee celebrations this Friday, 18 May. She will host the royal autocrats for lunch at Windsor Castle and for dinner at Buckingham Palace.

"It is outrageous that the Queen has invited royal tyrants to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee. She should not host the monarchs of countries such as Brunei, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Swaziland and United Arab Emirates. All of them preside over regimes that abuse human rights,” said Mr Tatchell, who is Director of the human rights campaign group, the Peter Tatchell Foundation.

“Inviting blood-stained despots brings shame to our monarchy and tarnishes the Diamond Jubilee celebrations. It is a kick in the teeth to pro-democracy campaigners and political prisoners in these totalitarian royal regimes.

“The invitations should be withdrawn immediately, as a mark of respect for those who have been murdered, arrested, jailed and tortured.

"Buckingham Palace's refusal to confirm the guest list is arrogant and anti-democratic. As the Head of State of a democratic nation, the Queen should be transparent and accountable to the public. This secrecy and evasion is the enemy of democracy. The vast majority of the British people would not want the Queen to wine and dine these vile dictators.

“All eight royal families preside over a variety of human rights abuses, such as detention without trial, torture, the denial of free speech, restrictions on press freedom, discrimination against women, oppression of minority faiths, homophobic persecution, ill-treatment of guest workers and the violent suppression of peaceful protests.

“These monarchical regimes are backed by Britain and other western governments, despite their appalling human rights record.

“The invitations are a shocking misjudgement. They show the Queen is out of touch with the humanitarian values of most British people. She’s putting royalty before human rights.

“The guest list displays gross insensitivity to the suffering of people who have been persecuted by royal despots. It is an insult to the victims of dictatorship for our royal family to welcome and embrace these oppressors.

“Our monarch should not be colluding with human rights abusers. She should be on the side of the victims,” added Mr Tatchell.

Examples of human rights abuses in countries headed by royal autocrats:

Saudi Arabia
http://www.hrw.org/en/world-report-2011/saudi-arabia

http://www.voanews.com/english/news/middle-east/Rights-Group-Charges-Saudi-Has-Detained-160-Dissidents-120289694.html

Swaziland
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-13046740

http://www.nation.co.ke/News/africa/-/1066/1144068/-/12k5fq3/-/

Qatar
http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE22/001/2009/en/edcd06e7-59c0-455b-9f55-ecffc20a594c/mde220012009eng.html

http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE22/001/2010/en/f6c07b9d-4313-47fc-87f9-7dfe0a2922a9/mde220012010en.html

http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2010/nea/154471.htm

Oman
http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2011/03/03/oman-investigate-deaths-protest-clashes

Kuwait
http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2011/01/31/kuwait-free-speech-and-assembly-under-attack

Brunei
http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA15/001/2009/en/1f0f2a30-8919-4abb-8e20-d263499cf3d0/asa150012009en.pdf

United Arab Emirates
http://www.hrw.org/en/world-report-2011/united-arab-emirates

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/unitedarabemirates/5225720/Abu-Dhabi-ruling-family-linked-to-torture-video.html

http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/07/02/uae-ruling-undermines-press-freedom

ENDS