Consider the outrages (Alex Wright & Kathy Hubbard)

The 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow has seen a wealth of success for Scotland, and indeed Shetland, and has seen our sporting prowess match up against the other 52 members of the British Commonwealth.

It saddens us, however, to remark on the various violations of basic human rights, torture and degradation inflicted upon people by many of the other members of the Commonwealth, whose athletes right now are competing in Glasgow.
Countries such as Nigeria, Bangladesh and Singapore use torture, “disappearances” and brutality daily and with impunity.

Sri Lanka, which since its devastating civil war has slid into a totalitarian state where a dissenting political opinion can have you vanish from the face of the earth, was chosen to hold last year’s Commonwealth heads of state meeting, which Prime Minister David Cameron attended despite calls to boycott.

Of the member countries, eight are listed as having elections deemed unfair due to violence against voters or fraud.

Most damning, of the 53 countries in the Commonwealth, homosexuality is punishable by imprisonment in 21 of them, by death in two of them, and is illegal but unenforced in a further 18 of them.

Of the 53 countries, relationships between people of the same sex, different sexual orientations and differing gender identities are illegal in a frightening 41 of them. Were this list to be comprehensive, it would require a special pull-out supplement.

Take a look at some of the events, and wonder how many athletes from these countries might be gay, and unable to live their lives freely for fear of prison or death.

That the UK tolerates this outrage by allowing these members to compete as friends and partners at the games is a sad situation that we can only work towards changing.

We ask you, on behalf of those oppressed and in danger in countries such as Sri Lanka and Nigeria, to bear this in mind when thinking about the Commonwealth Games.

Meanwhile, we wish our Shetland and Scottish athletes and volunteers a happy, exciting and successful games.

Alex Wright and Kathy Hubbard

Chairman and treasurer,

Amnesty International Shetland


Wester Quarff.



Add Your Comment
  • Emilie Gray

    • July 30th, 2014 13:34

    Very we’ll said.

    • Charlie Banham - Cullivoe

      • July 30th, 2014 23:54

      Very well said indeed, but lest we forget that most of these morally repugnant injustices are in reality, nothing but ‘learned behaviour’ from their former masters and slave drivers – the BRITISH colonisers . Yes we taught them so well, it is now all too easy for them to say ” the British did those things so it cannot be wrong”?
      And now we Brits are outraged that these things still happen in the 21st century?
      So called Great Britain? (only by UK politicians and flag wavers ) Who by the way, have zero understanding of the utter carnage that was reeked upon the world by the British Invaders who arrived on their distant shores to pillage, steal everything of value, destroy the locals life-style, and then eventually when all the good stuff was taken back ‘home’ we left these people in a huge mess, the only ‘legacy’ we left them with was despair, poverty and our twisted version of self-serving ‘democracy’.

      So sad that when the history books were written the truth about the British Empire was sanitised to make it palatable, even awesome in the extreme. All of the bad bits were left out so school children would actually believe that we did a great public service. Shameful propaganda that would even make the former Soviet Union blush.
      But most of us are now enlightened, and know the truth

      All of the above does not in any way excuse the perpetrators of cruel punishment on innocent people for doing the evils that they do in todays world, and I do not have any answers – but using these issues to decide whether or not the innocent athletes should be forbidden to compete in any sporting event is actually punishing the wrong people!
      It is too late for any former colonial country to sort these matters out – all we know what happens when we interfere in todays world – illegal wars resulting in terrorism – only making the world much more unsafe and volatile for all of us, regardless of ‘sexual orientation’ or personal beliefs
      We cannot solve all of the worlds problems, especially when we have been guilty of perpetrating the same, or even worse crimes throughout the world and ignoring others which criticised us!
      Like I said, I have no answers, I admire Amnesty International and its quest and I wish the organisation every success, but UK politicians interfering are definitely NOT the Answer in this matter – the track record of all of them over the last 50 years is a stark reality – they only make things worse!

      • Gordon Harmer

        • August 1st, 2014 5:22

        “illegal wars resulting in terrorism” you have that statement 180 degrees out of context Mr Banman.

  • Raymond Smith, Kirkwall

    • July 31st, 2014 17:00

    What is this got to do with sport???

  • Ali Inkster

    • July 31st, 2014 23:54

    Du’s absolutely right Kathy dats whit wye we wid be BETTER AFF CLEAR O DA LOT O DEM. but well done tae da Shetland lasses dat med it ta glasgow but I wid radder dat shetland and Orkney wir sending wir ain teams. An unlik de I will wish aabody competing da best o luck no matter whar dir fae

  • David Spence

    • August 3rd, 2014 23:36

    When it comes to a country committing war or aiding conflict, the USA is probably one of the worst countries, but will project an image and message ‘ We are installing democracy, Giving the country free markets and enterprise, Installing a new Government – after the one they supported turns on the USA (Iraq being a good example) to give the people of that country freedom ‘ and all the other excuses and propaganda the US Government spoon feeds the simple (easily brainwashed) population of their country because those people have been brought to be so patriotic, they let their Government get away with mass murder (support for Israel being a good example) and atrocities committed by their Foreign Policy (expansion of Imperialism and of course, more importantly, the expansion of the economics via US banking system profiting immensely as a result of conflict and war…………which is highly profitable for the banks via loans for weaponry, armies, military power (the conflict aspect) rebuilding infrastructures of the new country after being destroyed by war and conflict (Iraq and Afghanistan being good examples) all of this war, conflict and the after consequences of it brings in $billions to the US Treasury and their banking system…………… said ‘ The want for money is the root of all evils ‘……never more aptly demonstrated by the US Banking System.

  • stephen shirmer

    • August 6th, 2014 14:07

    I am I to believe that some of the above statements are aimed at the athletes from these country’s that have a history in oppression and torture and should not be allowed to compete because of there country’s policies on human rights.

    Where I support amnesty international commitment to the welfare of others I do feel that if everything that is wrong with the world is banned from competing in sport or other events how can the world see the potential good of these athletes and people from these countries, it could be said that allowing sports-people to compete opens up the country to the eyes of the world- where sanctions just hardens the attitude of despots.


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