HRC36 Bahrain Intervention: Item 8 and Bahrain’s Labor Rights Violations

On 25 September, at the 36th session of the Human Rights Council, Husain Jawad Parweez delivered an oral intervention on behalf of ADHRB under the Item 8 General Debate. In his intervention, Parweez called attention to Bahrain’s continued disregard for international labor commitments, particularly labor violations stemming from economic reprisals levied against activists for their peaceful expression during the 2011 mass pro-democracy protests. Please continue reading for the full text of his intervention, or click here for a PDF of his remarks.

Mr. President,

ADHRB would like to call the Council’s attention to state violations of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action regarding labor rights.

For example, the Kingdom of Bahrain continues to disregard international labor commitments regarding economic reprisals against free opinion and expression. Following the 2011 pro-democracy protest movement in Bahrain, hundreds of workers were fired from their jobs in both the public and private sectors based on their participation in popular peaceful protests. After some workers were returned to their jobs following one round of negotiations between the General Federation of Bahrain Trade Unions and the government over seen by the ILO, there remained a further 165 workers that were politically dismissed. Furthermore, many of the workers who had been returned to their jobs were returned at lower seniority or pay levels, placed into positions without the opportunity for further advancement, or transferred into different areas of work outside their expertise.

Today, nearly six and a half years later, the vast majority of these remaining workers’ cases remain unaddressed, despite subsequent rounds of ILO negotiations. Additionally, leading labor figures have also been the subject of intimidation by State Security agents.

Mr. President, the rights of workers are a key element within the Vienna Declaration, and must be fully respected at all times, including following periods of national emergency. We therefore call on all states, including Bahrain, to fully respect the rights of workers’ rights to free assembly, association and expression.

Thank you.

Photo by Moosa Mohammed