At the occasion of World Teachers’ Day (WTD), celebrated annually on 5 October, EI has issued a statement of solidarity with teachers in Bahrain and their trade union, the Bahrain Teacher Association (BTA).
WTD is an opportunity for EI to celebrate the profession and to promote international standards for the teaching profession. Unfortunately, teachers in many countries, such as Bahrain, are not rewarded by their authorities as they should. Quite the contrary, they are being harassed and denied basic trade union rights.
The statement condemns the fact that “the Bahraini Teachers’ Association leaders were arrested during the pro-democracy protests in March 2011 for peacefully exercising their legitimate rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, in accordance with international human rights law and international labour standards.”
EI is calling on its affiliates “to take action and urge the Bahraini authorities to comply with international human rights standards, drop all charges against Mahdi Abu Dheeb and Jalila Al Salman and ensure that due process is respected.”
“While celebrating the World teachers’ Day we call on you to denounce the continuing repression of civil liberties and the criminalisation of teachers and unionists undertaking their legitimate human rights activities in Bahrain and elsewhere.”
On 21 October, the leaders of BTA, its President Mahdi Abu Dheeb and the Vice President Jalila Al Salman, will appear for the 9th time to the Manana Appeal Court. They are challenging their condemnation to respectively ten and three years detention by a military court for their so-called role in “encouraging civil disobedience” of teachers during the 2011 Pearl pro-democracy demonstrations in Bahrain.
Since their arrest, the BTA leaders have benefited from the full support of EI and its affiliates around the world, as well as from the General Federation of Bahrain Trade Unions (GFBTU), the International Trade union Confederation and the International labour Organisation.
Last week, an international trade union delegation wishing to attend the GFBTU national congress was denied entry to Bahrain. EI joined the International Trade Union Confederation in condemning this blatant violation of the right to freedom of assembly. EI also called upon the Government of Bahrain to effectively cooperate with civil society and trade unions and lift all restrictions on access and movement in the country.
The EI solidarity statement can be read in its entirety here.