HUMAN rights campaigners are demanding the National Portrait Gallery scrap a sponsorship deal with BP that they say violates its ethics policy.
Campaign group Culture Unstained is to lodge a 19-page formal complaint with the gallery today, just in time for this evening’s BP Portrait Award ceremony.
The report highlights BP’s support for rights-abusing regimes including Azerbaijan, Egypt, Indonesia and Mexico.
It says this breaches the human rights clause in the gallery’s ethical fundraising policy, allowing it to reject cash when “the supporting source is known or suspected to be closely associated with a regime known or suspected to be in violation of human rights.”
Culture Unstained accused the gallery of “failing to ensure that the decision-making process was conducted properly” and warn that if concerns are not addressed they will complain to the Parliamentary Ombudsman.
BP ended its 26-year sponsorship of the Tate gallery last year following years of protests, closely followed by the end of its 34-year sponsorship of the Edinburgh International Festival.
Culture Unsustained spokesman Dr Chris Garrard said: “The gallery needs to explain what the purpose of having an ethical fundraising policy is if you’re not willing to stand by your values and put it into action.
“It’s disturbing to think the gallery might have researched BP’s close ties to regimes that violate human rights and decided that’s the company it wants to keep.”
A gallery spokeswoman said it would respond after a complaint was formally received.