Washington, DC – May 1, 2013 – As more than 80 nations across the globe celebrate International Workers’ Day, Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) stands in solidarity with the people of Bahrain who have been victimized by the Bahrain government in recent years for exercising their rights to free speech and expression.
Following peaceful protests in 2011, thousands of workers were unlawfully dismissed from their positions while hundreds were sentenced to prison after being tried before a pseudo-military court on trumped up charges. Numerous labor law violations were documented in a report issued in late 2011 by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, a body commissioned by the king of Bahrain to investigate the root causes of the protests and to recommend reforms to prevent a recurrence of events. The report urged the Government of Bahrain to reinstate workers who were dismissed for participating in the protests. These findings were confirmed in a more recent report issued by the United States Department of Labor in late 2012, which found that the Government of Bahrain failed to ensure that principles concerning fundamental rights against elimination and discrimination are recognized and protected by law.
“Not only is the right to work protected under Bahrain’s domestic laws, it is a fundamental human right enshrined in several international conventions, which Bahrain is party to,” said ADHRB Director Husain Abdulla. “People like Madhi Abu Dheeb, who is currently serving a five-year prison sentence for organizing a teachers’ strike in support of calls for reform, have yet to benefit from the Government of Bahrain’s so-called ‘reforms’.”
To this day, workers continued to suffer from targeted discrimination: firings continue to occur, and while many workers have not been reinstated to their posts, others who have returned to work have been demoted or received a reduction in pay. Jalila al-Salman, vice president of the Bahrain Teachers’ Association, was fired from her Ministry of Education position in February of this year, ostensibly due to her advocacy efforts on behalf of fired teachers.
“The Government of Bahrain must immediately reinstate all suspended, demoted, and dismissed workers to their previous positions and provide compensation for back wages,” Abdulla said.