Human Rights Day 2010 marked in Bahrain

10 Dec 2010

 On the occasion of Human Rights Day, H.E. Dr. Nezar  Al Baharna, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, launched the Government of Bahrain Report entitled “Foreign Workers and Labour Conditions in Bahrain”. The report details some of the issues related to foreign workers in the Kingdom, such as recruitment fees, wages, excessive work, passport and mobility as well as other forms of physical and psychological abuse. It further features solutions and protections currently available in the Kingdom, as well as future pledges for further improving working and living conditions of foreign workers in Bahrain. The Report was prepared in joint consultation with the Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Justice and the Public Prosecutor’s Office, LMRA and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with the support of UNDP within the framework of the UPR Project.

H.E. the Minister stated that provisions have already been included in Bahrain’s laws to care for migrant workers and protect their rights. In addition, “Several steps are being coordinated with regard to unpaid wages, inadequate wages or excessive work and forced labour”. These include holding discussions with governments of labour exporting countries and continuing to inspect recruitment agencies to ensure they follow the law. The Report is in line with international human rights conventions to which Bahrain is a signatory explained H.E. Dr. Al Baharna

Dr. Habib El Habr, UNEP/ROWA Director and Regional Representative as well as acting UN Resident Coordinator, gave a statement in which he presented an overview of the relationship between human rights as a principle, human development and sustainable development, stressing that there is a gap between development and its economic and social laws and legislation that respects right. Foreign workers must be provided with suitable conditions for a life of dignity and fulfilment of their human rights, such as rights of employment, housing and healthcare and access to clean water and food.

Dr. Habib read to the audience the speech of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon on the occasion of Human Rights Day 2010. In his speech, the Secretary-General praised the courage and achievements of human rights defenders around the world and called for all to become inspired to seek a more just world by becoming human rights champions ourselves.

Ms. Lana Baydas, Human Rights Officer from OHCHR Middle East Regional Office, delivered a speech on the occasion on behalf of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay. “We owe the progress we have made to the enormous efforts of hundreds of thousands of largely unsung heroes, known collectively as human rights defenders “she said, and added that “Human rights defender is a title each and every one of us can earn. It is not a role that requires a professional qualification. What it depends on is regard for our fellow human beings, an understanding that we are all entitled to the full range of human rights and a commitment to seeing that ideal become a reality.”