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Formula 1

18th Nov 2021

Formula 1 is “duty-bound” to raise awareness of human rights issues in Qatar, claims Hamilton

Daniel Brown

“These places need scrutiny. Equal rights is a serious issue.”

Lewis Hamilton has stated that Formula 1 is “duty-bound” to raise awareness of human rights issues in Qatar at the country’s first grand prix this weekend.

The Mercedes driver believes ‘these places need scrutiny’, reiterating the importance of equal rights, as per the BBC.

Hamilton said: “As sports go to these places, they are duty-bound to raise awareness for these issues.

“These places need scrutiny. Equal rights is a serious issue.”

Qatar is hosting its maiden F1 race this weekend, with Saudi Arabia also making its debut on the calendar in two weeks’ time.

From 2023, Qatar has a 10-year contract that is believed to be to be the most lucrative in Formula 1.

The 36-year-old Hamilton added: “I am aware that in this place they are trying to make steps and it can’t change overnight.”

Qatar has been heavily criticised for its treatment of migrant workers – especially around the building of stadiums for the 2022 Fifa World Cup – as well as the views on homosexuality, which is considered illegal under Qatari law.

Amnesty International has described the human rights situation in both Qatar and Saudi Arabia as “extremely troubling”.

Hamilton has explained how he wishes more sportsmen and women would speak out on the topic.

“One person can only make a certain amount of small difference but together, collectively we can have a bigger impact,” he added.

“I have been to a lot of these countries and have been ignorant, been unconscious of some of the problems in some of the places.

“It’s down to whether you decide to educate yourself and hold the sport more accountable and make sure the sport is actually doing something about it when it goes to these places.

“That’s why I’ve tried to raise my voice, but there are far brighter people that are knowledgeable on these issues that are trying to fight them in the background.

“But I still think we can bring a spotlight to it and create that scrutiny and that pressure that can hopefully create change.”

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