Olympics: UK to ban rights abuse leaders

2012-05-23 18:37

London - World leaders and politicians guilty of human rights abuses will be banned from entering Britain for the 2012 London Olympics, the foreign ministry said on Wednesday.

"Entry will be refused where an individual's presence at the Games or in the UK would not be conducive to the public good," Jeremy Browne, minister of state at the Foreign Office, told parliament in a written statement.

"Where there is independent, reliable and credible evidence that an individual has committed human rights abuses, the individual will not normally be permitted to enter the UK."

The announcement comes after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that he was hoping to attend the London Olympics, which start on 27 July, but that British authorities were reluctant to allow him.

"I would like to be beside the Iranian athletes at the Olympic Games in London to support them, but [the British] have issues with my presence," Ahmadinejad said last week, according to Tehran's official news agency IRNA.

Browne added that all international visitors seeking to come to Britain for the Olympics and subsequent Paralympics would be subject to normal immigration controls, while anyone under a European Union or United Nations travel ban would also be barred.

Leaders including Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe and Syria's Bashar al-Assad are banned from the European Union, while Britain has previously turned away politicians including Dutch far-right lawmaker Geert Wilders.

A sovereigns' lunch last week for Queen Elizabeth's diamond jubilee caused several diplomatic headaches for Britain, with protests over the attendance of the kings of Bahrain and Swaziland, whose regimes are accused of rights abuses.

  • peterjohnjnb - 2012-05-23 18:44

    Amen!!!! FINALLY some real leadership from Britain!!

      Squeegee - 2012-05-23 18:51

      A better plan would be to allow the Mugarbages of this world in and then keep them there. Don't allow them to return and cause more harm.

      Gordon - 2012-05-23 19:17

      @Squeegee, you want to make our planet's problem another's.

      ludlowdj - 2012-05-24 14:32

      60 years to late for the British people though

  • bill.vanzyl - 2012-05-23 19:14

    Even this decision by the UK government will, of course, be selectively applied. Do not imagine for one moment that the political leaders of China with it's well documented human rights abuses, or any countries that practice religious repression, or some of the oil rich middle eastern countries, or any other country that does business with the UK will be banned no matter how serious the repression, oppression, and human rights abuses may be in those countries.

      Fidel - 2012-05-24 00:53

      Well spotted Bill. One doesn't need to list the countries that violate human rights that are the darlings of the UK. Most, are not just given the courtship of the UK but in many cases are a direct product of the policy of Britain. Saudi Arabia is one of the most favoured 'democractic and human rights observing' friends of the 'free world'. This is what I call a dysfunctional moral compass. Money, power and usefulness trump humanity every time!

      Gerhard - 2012-05-24 12:09

      Fidel it is a question of whose side you are on.

      Fidel - 2012-05-24 13:19

      That is fine, but they shouldn't make this about morality. This applies to the nonsense of bombing other people in order to give them democracy as well. As the Rev. Chikane notes, "The pretence of defending democracy and human rights is negated by history."

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-05-24 17:00

      Fidel, We ,almost, never agree, but do with you on this one. It is a dumb and stupid idea !!!! This Swazi "king" thug, whose daddy stole Swaziland from its people, had just in the last few days, a cuppa tea, with the Queen !!! Human rights abuse, is like rape.... you can't be a bit of a rapist, or a 'good' rapist, or a 'bad' rapist. with other words; three quarter of the world, should than not be allowed into the UK, and for sure this would include Russia, China and the USA!!

      Fidel - 2012-05-24 20:00

      That is why then Anthony I always question the motives of those countries who always preach about defending democracy and human rights. Their actions are opposed to what they say. History is a good teacher.

  • shuaib.manjra - 2012-05-23 19:54

    what about tony blair, george w bush, benyamin netanyahu, the chinese president, saudi monarchy, jordanian monarchy, those who occupy the falklands, etc, etc, etc. or do only iranians and africans qualify?

      Fidel - 2012-05-24 09:33

      Ukraine will be beat with this stick as well as the current leadership in that country refuses to be pliable to NATO.

  • Warren - 2012-05-24 10:30

    Its their party and they will allow you they want to.

      Fidel - 2012-05-24 11:05

      Wrong, It's the IOCs, Britain have just been asked to host it. The IOC issues invites to un-dignitaries.

  • sasss31 - 2012-05-24 16:25

    I applaud the U.K. for their moral clarity!

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