Report: G20 Countries and the Human Rights Crisis in Bahrain

By Laura Da Costa / Lancaster University

The G20 (Group of Twenty) is an international forum for governments and central bank governors from 19 countries and the European Union (EU). It was founded in 1999 with the aim of discussingpolicy pertaining to international financial stability.The 2020 G20 summit will be the 15th of its kind,to be held in Saudi Arabia on the 21st and 22nd of November.

There has never been a focus on human rightswithin the G20. It was founded as an economic organisation, and it appears as though this criterion will remain the central focus for the immediate future. Despite attempts to addresssocial and political provisions such as female empowerment in recent years, these steps do not quite go as far as we would hope for in the Bahraini context. It is undeniable that more democratically inclined G20 states have attempted to call out the Bahraini government for human rights abuses since 2011, but these actions have proven unfruitful thus far. Nevertheless, they provide hope that, at some stage, the G20 could reach this level of policymaking.

Many NGOs have been vocal in their disapproval of Saudi Arabia hosting the conference. Some have decided to boycott the conference altogether, whilst others have publicly highlighted that rewarding Saudi Arabia with host privileges tacitly condones the human rights violations that it executes at home and abroad.

This report is the result of an internship that the author carried out with Salam DHR but it represents their work.

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