Migrant workers oppressed in Bahrain

This video is called Migrant workers in Bahrain.

From the Himalayan Times in Nepal:

Migrant workers unsafe in Bahrain‚ says rights body

2012-10-21 8:30 PM

KATHMANDU: Human Rights Watch (HRW), a rights-based organisation, has said that Bahrain — a popular job destination for Nepalis in the Gulf region — is not safe for migrant workers. Hundreds of thousands of mostly South Asian migrant workers in Bahrain face exploitation and abuse, HRW said in its 123-page report ‘For a Better Life: Migrant Worker Abuse in Bahrain and the Government Reform Agenda’.

The initiative taken by the Bahrain government to safeguard migrant workers is not enough. Migrants are suffering from various forms of discrimination and exploitation, it said. The report has suggested, “Bahraini authorities need to implement labour safeguards and redress mechanisms already in place and prosecute abusive employers.”

HRW has shown serious concern regarding domestic workers, as their major concerns — establishing maximum daily and weekly work hours, and weekly days off — were not included in the private sector labour law of 2012. “Domestic workers are excluded from key protections like physical or sexual violence and abuses,” said deputy director Middle East and North Africa Joe Stork. The global rights organisation has questioned the Bahraini government regarding the impunity granted to abusers. “There is no prosecution and enforcement of penalties for employers,” it said.

Bahrain is a popular destination among Nepali migrant workers. About 60,000 Nepalis are believed to be working in the destination and half of them are women working as domestic workers. “Sexual abuse of domestic workers in Bahrain are on the same level of the average of Gulf Cooperation Council. But the workers’ voices have not been heard by the government or the court,” it said.

According to data provided by the ministry, in 2009, 2010, and 2011, mediators resolved only 30 per cent complaints filed by migrant workers, as compared with 56 per cent complaints filed by Bahraini workers. It reveals that migrant workers are not accorded priority in the government regulating agencies. “The sponsorship system, known as Kafala, is a major obstacle to safeguarding migrant workers,” it pointed out.

HRW found no evidence that Bahraini authorities have utilised anti-trafficking legislation, introduced in 2008, to prosecute labour related violations. Similarly, the tiny Gulf nation has not fulfilled its promise to include migrants in the national legal framework.

Bahrain has just over 458,000 migrant workers –– about 77 per cent of the total work force in both public and private sectors. Most are employed in low-skill, low-wage jobs in construction, trade, manufacturing, and domestic work.

From Migrant Rights:

Oct 21, 2012

Challenging Xenophobia in Gulf Publications

Historically, minorities tend to bear the blame for society’s ills. Xenophobia against migrants in the Gulf is a widespread yet contradictory phenomenon. These accusations against migrants are undergirded by assumptions and purposefully misconstrued facts.

From Angry Arab’s Bahrain correspondent: “I know I haven’t written for a while, but this is urgent. The tiny village of Al-Ekr has been under siege since Friday. I have no idea what’s going on inside. No one can go in. No one can go out. Goods can’t come in. Goods can’t come out. Its absolutely ridiculous and what I’m hearing reminds me of what happened in Bahrain in March 2011, except that no one is reporting whats going on. The siege came after a police man was apparently killed in an explosion in Al-Ekr. The thing is that the villagers of Al-Ekr claim that they never heard an explosion, so the entire story is suspect. Either way, there’s no excuse for collective punishment. Also when policemen and security forces are allowed to act with impunity, the government should expect that one of them will eventually get killed. Zainab AlKhawaja, Yousif AlMuhafdha and Naji AlFateel (you obviously know who Zainab is but the other two are also human rights activists that work for the Bahrain Center for Human Rights) tried to enter the village but were arrested (they were later released). Victoria Nuland is of course only condemning the policeman’s death (she didn’t bother condemning the twitter arrests that happened a few days before): here.

Bahrain teacher Jalila al-Salman speaks out on eve of sentencing: here.

Bahrain: Teachers face further jail time after ‘nightmare’ verdict: here.

17 thoughts on “Migrant workers oppressed in Bahrain

  1. Bahrain acquits policewoman of torture

    From: AAP

    October 23, 2012 5:16AM

    A BAHRAIN court has acquitted a policewoman who was charged with torturing a female journalist during last year’s crackdown on anti-regime protests in the Gulf kingdom, the claimant says.

    “The court has ruled that Sara al-Musa was not guilty in the case of torturing me,” wrote Naziha Saeed, who is Manama’s correspondent for France 24 and Radio Monte Carlo Doualiya, on her Twitter page.

    Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemned the ruling and said in a statement that it “illustrates the Bahrain’s judicial system’s lack of independence”.

    The Paris-based organisation said Saeed intends to appeal the verdict.

    Lieutenant Musa was accused of torturing Saeed while the journalist was in custody on May 22 last year.

    The prosecution said in May it had referred the case to the “high criminal court because the defendant is a public servant in the ministry of interior and has used force against the victim to make her confess to a crime”.

    “She beat her and caused her the harm described in a medical report,” a prosecution statement said.

    The officer was charged with “attacking the body” of Saeed, by “slapping her, beating her with plastic tubing, kicking her in all parts of her body, in addition to insulting her”, the statement said.

    Saeed, who reported on last year’s deadly crackdown on the Shi’ite-led pro-democracy protests, was summoned by police on May 22 last year, without any idea of what awaited her, said RSF.

    Saeed said she was badly beaten and humiliated by several policewomen after she was accused of lying in her reports. She was released after midnight, and days later the interior ministry announced proceedings against those accused of mistreating her.

    “The kingdom’s authorities, mindful of their international image, pride themselves on having accepted 158 of the 176 recommendations – 13 partially – made by the Bahrain Universal Periodic Review at the 21st session of the UN Human Rights Council last month,” RSF said.

    “However, these undertakings were trampled underfoot as soon as the television cameras left.”

    An international probe commissioned by King Hamad accused police of using excessive force and torture in last year’s crackdown, which was backed by troops from Bahrain’s Gulf neighbours.

    According to the International Federation for Human Rights, 80 people have been killed in Bahrain since the violence began on February 14, 2011.


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