18 thoughts on “Bahrain dictatorship praised by Murdoch for ‘freedom’

  1. Kuwait And Bahrain – Trade Union Relationship with Nepal

    Wednesday, 18 January 2012, 10:37 am

    Press Release: ITUC

    Kuwait And Bahrain Become First Gulf Countries To Forge An Official Trade Union Relationship With Nepal

    Unions join forces to assist over 100,000 thousand migrant workers in Gulf

    Brussels, 16 January 2012 (ITUC OnLine): Gulf states are relying on over 100,000 migrant workers from Asia to grow their economies.

    As the economies of Kuwait and Bahrain thrive on migrant labour, Nepal’s largest employer is the Gulf states, where families depend on making money overseas.

    The rapid expansion of migrant labour has taken place without protection workers’ rights. The new MOU agreed between the unions aims to improve conditions for migrant workers.

    Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, said many workers arrive with little more than a contract, leaving behind their family and too often their basic human rights.

    Kuwait has 40,000 Nepalese workers. More than half of them are women domestic workers, while the majority of men work in the construction industry.

    The international trade union movement has been at the forefront of supporting efforts to link up workers with union representatives.
    Two Memorandum of Understandings have been agreed between the Nepalese trade union GEFONT and those in Kuwait (KTUF) and Bahrain (GFBTU).

    “The MOU seals the solidarity between workers in both countries. Working together the unions will create better conditions for migrant workers,” said Sharan Burrow.

    In Kuwait, the MOU will tackle issues of worker intimidation and trade union rights among Nepali workers. The KTUF has committed to working with GEFONT to address issues associated with migration, such as problems faced by workers, through the establishment of a system to protect and improve workers’ needs.

    “We will respect the laws of Kuwait, but we need to better protect our workers abroad,” said Ramesh Badal, Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs of GEFONT.

    Campaigns for legislative reform will also be pursued in both countries to abolish the restrictive sponsorship system for workers in Kuwait, and to improve recruitment agencies in Nepal through increased monitoring.

    “Migrant workers pay huge sums to unscrupulous recruiters, sometimes leading to situations of debt bondage, whereas often fees have already been paid by Kuwaiti employers. In the absence of a solid legal framework and rigid monitoring, recruitment agencies and all sorts of middlemen get away with organised slave trading,” said Abdulrahman Alghanim, General Secretary of the KTUF

    The two unions will also play a part in developing better orientation for workers in the two countries. The KTUF has already taken steps to produce brochures for new migrants to educate them on their rights.

    The meeting was financially supported by the Dutch trade union FNV and the KTUF in Kuwait.

    See the full text of the MOU signed between:

    KTUF-GEFONT: English, Arabic: http://www.ituc-csi.org/ktuf-gefont-memorandum.html

    GFBTU-GEFONT: English: http://www.ituc-csi.org/gfbtu-gefont-memorandum.html

    Read the GEFONT statement http://www.gefont.org/activity_detail.php?flag=3&id=821

  2. Bahrain rejects proposed march by opposition

    18 January 2012, 06:43 (GMT+04:00)

    The Bahraini government rejected on late Tuesday a march proposal by opposition groups and warned people not to take part in it, Xinhua reported.

    The “no to tyranny, yes to democracy” procession is organized by Al Wefaq National Islamic Society and other opposition groups to march in downtown Manama on Wednesday evening.

    The Chief of Public Security Major-General Tariq Al Hassan explained in a statement the reasons why the authorities rejected the proposal.

    “After reviewing the security plans and the General Gathering law, it was decided not to give permission for the procession,” Hassan said.

    The location and time of the proposed march will cause traffic congestion and disturbance to embassies, commercial and government organizations, he added.

    The chief also warned that if the march is held despite the rejection, it will be a violation of law and legal actions will be taken against the violators.

    Early this month, the interior ministry rejected a gathering proposal by Al Wefaq at another busy location. However, Al Wefaq went ahead anyway and the gathering ended up in clashes between the protesters and the police.

    Al Wefaq and other political groups have been holding weekly gatherings in all parts of Bahrain to call for more democracy and reforms.

    http://en.trend.az/regions/met/arabicr/1981222.html

  3. Bahrain police disperse demonstrators in Manama

    (AFP) – 14 hours ago

    DUBAI — Bahraini police fired rubber bullets and tear gas on Wednesday to disperse protesters who were attempting to hold a banned demonstration in Manama, the key Shiite opposition group Al-Wefaq reported.

    There were no immediate reports of injuries or arrests.

    Security forces prevented the small groups of people, who were chanting anti-regime slogans and demanding democracy, from reaching the Ras Rumman diplomatic quarter in the capital’s business district, the source said.

    The authorities said on Tuesday that they were prohibiting the demonstration, called by the Shiite-led opposition, for security reasons.

    Al-Wefaq’s website also called for another demonstration to be held in a suburb of the capital on Thursday, the same day an air show is to begin in the tiny Gulf kingdom.

    The incident comes just days after King Hamad introduced constitutional reforms that give more power to the elected parliament, but fall far short of the demands set down by the opposition.

    A brutal crackdown on protests in mid-March led to the death of 35 people, including five security personnel and five detainees tortured to death, according to a commission appointed by the king.

    Hundreds were injured.

    Tensions have remained high in Bahrain since the spring, and sporadic violence has been on the upturn in recent weeks.

    On December 31, a Shiite youth was hit and killed by a tear gas shell.

    Bahrain’s Shiite community, although a majority in the Sunni-ruled kingdom, has complained of marginalisation.

    Copyright © 2012 AFP.

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  6. http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/NewsDetails.aspx?storyid=324972

    UK arms for Bahrain?

    By Alicia De Haldevang , Posted on » Saturday, March 03, 2012

    BAHRAIN could receive military assistance from the UK if tensions rise between the West and Iran, according to a British newspaper.

    The Sun quoted a senior Whitehall official as saying that Britain plans to beef up its military presence in the region as a stand-off continues with Tehran over its nuclear programme.

    It follows a decision by the European Union (EU) and the US to impose sanctions on Iran’s oil, a move that comes into effect in July.

    The unnamed official reportedly described conflict as “inevitable” and said the UK was ready to dispatch troops to the region to bolster its allies here.

    “Ministry of Defence planners went into overdrive at the start of the year,” they are quoted as saying.

    “Conflict is seen as inevitable as long as the (Iranian) regime pursue their nuclear ambitions.

    “Britain would be sucked in whether we like it or not, probably via Iranian attacks on our forces in Afghanistan next door to them.

    “We also have some very important allies in the region and we stand ready to help them with troops.”

    The newspaper claimed the UK had at least one nuclear submarine standing by and estimated there could be conflict within 18 to 24 months, prompting an increased British military presence in the GCC.

    “The UK will first fly an infantry battalion to the UAE,” said the report.

    “The move would be a public show of support, demonstrating that Britain is ready to defend the UAE if it comes under attack from Iran.

    “The UAE is separated from Iran by just 34 miles of sea across the Strait of Hormuz.

    “Further troops could follow if other allies Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar ask for help.”

    It added the UK had already beefed up its naval forces in the region and had seven warships in the Gulf.

    “HMS Daring, one of its newest and most powerful destroyers, arrived in the region last month (January) to join Type 23 frigate HMS Argyll,” it said.

    Submarine

    “Minesweepers Pembroke, Quora, Middleton and Ramsey are based in Bahrain and a nuclear submarine is lurking in the area.”

    Another submarine armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles would be commissioned to the area, as well as extra aircraft, it added.

    “The RAF would send Typhoon and Tornado Jets to reinforce helicopter and transport plane crews already stationed in Qatar, Oman, Bahrain and the UAE,” it said.

    The report said Israeli airstrikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities were considered the most likely event to trigger conflict.

    Plans for Iran and protection of the Strait of Hormuz have been in the pipeline for a while, Former First Sea Lord and Security Minister Lord Alan West was also quoted as saying.

    “A plan for Iran and the protection of the Strait of Hormuz has been around for quite a long time,” he added.

    “It’s quite right they should be dusting it off and looking at every aspect of what should be done.”

    A spokesman at the British Embassy in Bahrain said that contingency plans have been drawn up for all scenarios around the world.

    “The Foreign Secretary, the Defence Secretary and the Chief of the Defence Staff have all previously said that all options should be kept on the table,” they told the GDN.

    “The MOD (Ministry of Defence) conducts contingency planning for numerous possible scenarios around the world – for all kinds of issues.

    “The UK continues to work with other countries to achieve a diplomatic solution over Iran.

    “As has been previously said, we want a negotiated solution, not a military one.”

    alicia@gdn.com.bh

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