Education International (EI) is deeply concerned that workers and their trade union representatives in Bahrain are facing a wave of coercive violence and massive dismissals, in apparent reprisal for their participation in legitimate strikes and protest actions for democratic change.
Earlier this week, the Bahraini Parliament called on the government to take immediate legal measures against the leaders of trade unions and associations who supported strikes and to refer them to public prosecution. A government official declared that all those who have participated in the strikes and the “plot against Bahrain” would be punished.
More than 500 workers and public employees have reportedly been dismissed in the past few days for taking part in the general strikes organised in solidarity with anti-government protesters.
The security forces have shut down the headquarters of the General Federation of Bahrain Trade Unions (GFBTU), Bahrain's main trade union body, as well as roads leading to it, preventing dismissed workers from reaching it. The GFBTU President, Salman Mahfooz, has been summoned for investigation. The website of the union centre has been suspended.
The President of the Bahraini Teacher Association has been arrested on 6 April. Two other members of the leadership of the association, Sanna Zainaldeen and Anwar Akbar, had been arrested on 1 April. In total, eight leaders of the teacher association are now detained, including the Secretary General and the Vice-President.
EI has condemned the crackdown on teacher unionists and has launched an Urgent Action Appeal, calling on its member organisations to urge the authorities to respect the fundamental rights and freedoms of teachers and union activists. We also encourage individuals to send online messages to the Bahraini government, using our on-line form.
For more information, please visit the EI urgent action appeal on Bahrain.