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Human rights group calls for cancellation of Bahrain GP

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Human rights campaigners in Bahrain are once again using the country's F1 showcase event as a soundboard to denounce abuses in the Arab kingdom.

The Bahrain Grand Prix is the country's biggest sporting event and has been held since 2004 with the exception of 2011 when local unrest forced the race's cancellation.

"Concerted and visible action is now required from Formula One, consistent with its commitment to human rights," the groups said in a letter to Formula One chairman Chase Carey and the two managing directors Sean Bratches and Ross Brawn.

"We call on you to suspend this year's race in view of the alarming situation in the country."

The letter, also addressed to the CEO of F1 sponsor Heineken, was sent by the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, Article 19 and Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain.

Formula One, which has been criticized for taking up residency in countries accused of abuses against government or ruling family opponents, published a commitment in 2015 to respect "internationally recognized human rights in its operations globally."

It's unlikely that Liberty Media, the new owner of F1, will answer the human rights call just a week before the event gets underway.

The US company has not yet responded to the call from the human rights group.

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