The organizers of the Bahrain Grand Prix have responded to calls for teams to boycott the 2012 race by saying "it is supported by an overwhelming majority of people".

8844 - Bahrain organisers reject boycott calls

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights had urged the teams and drivers to boycott the race, claiming that Formula One would be helping the government portray a false image if the grand prix went ahead. However, a spokesman for the Bahrain International Circuit insisted that the government was acting on proposals made by an independent report.

"Last year, the King of Bahrain commissioned an independent report into alleged human rights abuses, the findings of which were published in November," the spokesman said. "The report found evidence of human rights violations and made certain general and specific recommendations. The Government has fully acknowledged the findings of the report and is acting swiftly and convincingly on the recommendations."

The spokesman also reiterated the importance of the race to Bahrain, and said that it would help bring the country together.

"The Bahrain Grand Prix forms a fundamental part of the local economy. It is supported by an overwhelming majority of people from all sections of society in Bahrain and represents a symbol of national unity. The independent report was a milestone for Bahrain and we will now work tirelessly to ensure that the race is a great success."