Queen Elizebeth II Criticized Over Guest List Of Tyrants For Lunch Celebrating Diamond Jubilee
London, U.K. -
Human Rights groups have criticized the guest list for a lunch Queen Elizebeth II is hosting at Windsor Castle, as she celebrates her diamond jubilee, or 60 years on the throne. The list includes the king of Bahrain, who's security forces put down a pro-democracy demonstration, and Swaziland's King Mswati III, who lives a lavish lifestyle at the expense of his impoverished nation.
Bahrain is home to thew US Navy's 5th Fleet and the center of middle east military command operations and also has elements from the Army, Air Force and special operations attached to it. During last years crackdown, the US prohibited servicemen and women from leaving the US base. The king of Bahrain has launched in investigation into the abuse and security force's behavior during last years crackdown and promised a "full and transparent" accounting.
Peter Tatchell, a human rights campaigner, has called for the invitation of questionable leaders to be withdrawn immediately saying, it was "outrageous that the Queen has invited royal tyrants to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee... The invitations are a shocking misjudgment," he said. "They show the Queen is out of touch with the humanitarian values of most British people. She's putting royalty before human rights."
A British Foreign Office spokesman said, "The UK is a long standing friend and ally of Bahrain and ministers regularly meet with Bahraini counterparts in the UK and abroad," he said.
"This strong relationship also allows us to have a full and frank discussion on a range of issues including those where we have concerns. On human rights we support the reforms already underway in Bahrain and we want to help promote that reform."
Royals from Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden, Monaco, Brunei, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Thailand are among those invited to both events, as are the Emperor and Empress of Japan.
Noticeably absent is Queen Sofia of Spain who cancelled her planned trip to the U.K. after the Royal household planned to have Prince Edward visit Gibraltar, a small piece of land at the tip of Spain that both Britain and Spain claim as their own territory.