Boris – stop investing City Hall funds in bank owned by Saudi regime

Here's a letter I sent to the papers - calling on Boris to divest GLA funds from Riyad Bank. Printed in the Evening Standard Yesterday:

I welcome Haringey Council’s decision this week to stop investing money in fossil fuel companies, following a fantastic community campaign.

I’d now like to see London Mayor Boris Johnson divest £100 million of GLA funds from Riyad bank. 51% of this bank is owned by the Government of Saudi Arabia – who preside over a country with a horrendous human rights record.

As reported by Human Rights Watch, Saudi Arabia presses on with ‘arbitrary arrests, trials, and convictions of peaceful dissidents... Authorities continue to discriminate against Saudi women and girls and do not adequately protect the rights of migrant workers.

Criticising the authorities or speaking up for human rights can land you in prison, or worse. Just a few weeks ago, 47 ‘dissidents’ were executed.

While engagement with Saudi Arabia on issues like regional stability and countering Daesh may be necessary, that doesn’t mean the UK should turn a blind eye to these abuses – or even worse, indirectly contribute to them.

Last week Lib Dem leader Tim Farron put pressure on the UK Government to condemn Saudi Arabia’s human rights abuses, to suspend arms contracts with Saudi Arabia and to demand action to investigate possible Daesh supply lines in the Saudia Arabia.

I support these calls, and also encourage our Mayor to stop investing GLA cash in Riyad bank without delay.

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