The Amnesty International Society at the University of Manchester is teaming up with Human Rights Watch in a campaign targeting the owner of Manchester City Football Club.
The student society were contacted by Human Rights Watch to get involved in a campaign to draw attention to United Arab Emirates human rights abuses.
It is directed at the deputy prime minister of U.A.E., City owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan.
“We are mainly concerned with a recent spate of enforced disappearances, arrests without charge, and torture allegations that have emerged,” said co-chair of the Amnesty society Philippa Hughes.
The society will be working with Human Rights Watch and the Emirates Centre for Human Rights, an independent organisation who promote the defence of human rights in the U.A.E..
“We were contacted by Human Rights Watch, suggesting the idea, and they put us in contact with the Emirates Centre for Human rights based in London, said Hughes. “Human Rights Watch is not a campaigning body, so they will not be involved in the campaign, but we will be using their information and resources.
“The emirates work hard to maintain a positive international reputation, so both organisations think a targeted campaign of information centring around Manchester City football club would be a good way to capture their attention.”
The UAE is suspected of enforced disappearances, detainment of prisoners with out charge and on allegations of torture.
Hughes made clear they would not be asking anyone to boycott Man City, but aim to raise awareness about the cases of human rights abuse.
“We’re not asking anyone to stop going to Man City games. But fans should be concerned that the owner of their club is complicit in this,” said Hughes. “It’s an awareness campaign.
“Amnesty wants the UAE to respect international conventions on detainment of political prisoners and the prohibition of torture.”
For Man City fan Cameron Cloonies-Ross Sheikh Mansour’s wealth is the most important point and accusations of human rights abuses are not an issue.
“I like the owner because he’s got loads of money,” said the second-year Economics student. “If what’s going on has got nothing to do with the football it shouldn’t really matter for fans.”
Fan David Butler, third year English student said, “Obviously you can’t ignore the human rights issues and if he is responsible he should face some consequence, but at the same time it’s still good football and you cant ignore the amount of money he’s poured into home-grown football talent.”
The Amnesty society plan to hand out leaflets at home games all year informing people of the situation in the U.A.E. and how their club’s owner is involved.
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