On 10 July 2020, ADHRB has delivered an oral intervention at the United Nation Human Rights Council session 44 under the Interactive dialogue with the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises.
We thank the WG for its important activity and we welcome the opportunity to address it. We encourage the efforts being made to develop a legally binding instrument for transnational corporations with a view towards their contribution to the universal promotion and protection of human rights.
Given the wide impact that transnational corporations and business enterprises have on human rights in a large number of regions, we would like to call attention to the situation in Bahrain. Framed within the broader context of a largely repressive regime which does not protect and rather exploits its workers, the Formula One Group’s engagement with the Bahraini government continues to be particularly concerning. By continuing to rely on groundless assurances by the Bahraini authorities, the F1 Group seems indeed to disregard its human rights commitment and overlook grave abuses in Bahrain. Even though the 2020’s race has been postponed due to the pandemic, the Formula One Group should act in accordance with the standards provided for by the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and therefore should no longer engage with Bahrain as long as its workers’ human rights continue to be systematically violated.
Furthermore, it is reported that many Bahraini enterprises are using the COVID 19 pandemic as a pretext to unjustly terminate workers’ contracts and to avoid paying overdue wages. While the Bahraini employment and legislative system does not provide any redress mechanism, workers in Bahrain are left without protection nor guarantees.
With the Government of Bahrain continuing to show its substantive unwillingness to improve the extremely serious human rights situation faced by workers in the country, we ask to the Working Group, what measures and instruments have you identified to address the human rights violations stemming from the deeply institutionalized repression in Bahrain?