12 thoughts on “Bahraini trade unionist interviewed

  1. UPDATE 1-Amnesty cancels Bahrain visit over restrictions

    Reuters

    4:49 p.m. CST, March 2, 2012

    * Amnesty Int’l cancels trip over restrictions, tougher visa
    rules

    * The cancellation follows delay of U.N. official’s visit

    * Bahrain says regrets cancellation, criticises rights group

    (Adds Bahrain government statement, paragraph 3)

    MANAMA, March 2 (Reuters) – Amnesty International said
    on Friday it had cancelled a visit to Bahrain after the Gulf
    state imposed restrictions on groups trying to monitor reforms
    including the handling of protests.

    Amnesty, Human Rights Watch and another group had said
    Bahrain’s Human Rights and Social Development Ministry informed
    them this week of the new rules limiting them to five-day trips
    on visas that must be arranged through a Bahraini sponsor.

    The Bahraini government issued a statement expressing regret
    at the cancellation of the visit, saying that “Amnesty has
    chosen to put its objections to Bahrain’s visa regulations
    before its work to promote and protect human rights.”

    The U.N. investigator into torture has also postponed a
    visit, the U.N. human rights office in Geneva saying that
    Bahrain had formally requested a delay until July.

    “Regrettably we have cancelled the fact-finding visit to
    Bahrain … as the new five-day limit imposed by the Bahraini
    authorities for visits by international human rights
    organisations is a serious impediment,” Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, a
    regional Amnesty deputy director, said in a statement.

    “The Bahraini authorities have repeatedly stated their
    commitment to undertake human rights reform and to cooperate
    with human rights organisations. These new restrictions
    contradict such commitment,” she said.

    Bahrain, a U.S. ally ruled by the Sunni Muslim Al Khalifa
    family, has been under Western pressure to improve its rights
    record and institute political reforms after it crushed a
    pro-democracy uprising last year, imposing a period of martial
    law.

    The government said on Thursday it would need up to 20 more
    days to complete its plans for implementing the recommendations
    of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), which
    issued a damning report in November.

    The BICI said protesters, who come mainly from the majority
    Shi’ite population, had undergone systematic torture to force
    confessions that were used in military trials.

    The country remains in turmoil as clashes between youths and
    riot police occur daily in Shi’ite neighbourhoods and the
    banking and tourism-based economy, already weakened by the world
    financial crisis, struggles to pick up.

    The new rules follow an Interior Ministry announcement that
    it would tighten tourist visa regulations after Western
    activists took part in anti-government demonstrations last month
    marking the first anniversary of the Feb. 14 uprising.

    Bahrain is due to host the Formula One grand prix in April.

    Washington, whose Fifth Fleet is based in Manama, and former
    colonial power Britain have pressed Bahrain to ensure peaceful
    protests are allowed. Police allowed the main parties to hold a
    rally in the capital this week.

    Opposition parties want a move to full-scale parliamentary
    democracy, in which the elected chamber has full legislative
    powers and can form cabinets. The government has given
    parliament more powers of scrutiny over budgets and ministers.

    (Reporting by Andrew Hammond; Writing by Firouz Sedarat;
    Editing by Tim Pearce)

  2. 83% of the workforce in #Bahrain are expats, largest groups: India 197,084 , Bangladesh 75,169, Pakistan 35,218 & Philippines 24,235

    Mohammed Al Maskati ‏ @emoodz on Twitter

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