King Charles's charity warned over working in Bahrain

Amnesty International UK calls for 'due diligence' by the Prince's Foundation, which is taking part in a property development despite human rights concerns

King Charles III (Photograph: Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

King Charles’s charity has been urged to perform “proper due diligence” if it continues work on a major property development in Bahrain despite the country’s human rights violations.

Amnesty International UK said that the Prince’s Foundation has a responsibility to “avoid complicity in human rights violations”, after the Daily Mail reported that the charity would proceed with work in the Gulf country.

The Prince’s Foundation, an urban design and architecture charity established by King Charles, posted a job advert for an urban design assistant to help with its new town project in Bahrain.

But human rights groups have spoken against the current Bahraini ruling family, who last November banned opposing parties from the elections for the lower house of parliament, which advises King Hamad.

In a statement Amnesty International called the banning of opposition parties “a flagrant violation of the right to freedom of association”. 

The Prince’s Foundation signed a deal to advise Bahrain on a 4,000-home development in 2013.

The charity has received criticism for the partnership since it accepted the contract, due to the Gulf country’s excessive use of force in response to pro-democracy protests. 

According to a 2016 update on the Crown Prince of Bahrain's website, the Prince’s Foundation was “advising on homes in Bahrain's southern governorate and other development projects across different parts of the Kingdom”.

Commenting on the decision to continue work on the project, Peter Frankental, economic affairs director at Amnesty International UK, said: “All business entities - including foundations and trusts - have a responsibility to avoid complicity in human rights violations, and among other things the Prince’s Foundation will need to ensure that its housing project in Bahrain adheres to international labour standards, including with regard to sub-contractors and supply chains.

 “Bahrain’s human rights record is extremely concerning, with the authorities outlawing major opposition parties and independent media, jailing prominent opposition leaders and outlawing most public gatherings.

 “As with other Gulf countries, migrant workers in Bahrain are denied proper labour rights, and there have been numerous cases of wage theft by unscrupulous employers able to exploit workers as part of the notorious ‘kafala’ labour system.

 “If this project goes ahead, the Prince’s Foundation will need to show that it’s performed proper due diligence and that it’s monitoring and addressing any human rights concerns that may arise.”

Third Sector has contacted the Prince’s Foundation for comment.

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