Bahrain's ban on Bangladeshi workers | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 30, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, May 30, 2008


Bahrain's ban on Bangladeshi workers

Dhaka should raise issue with Manama in earnest

The manner in which the Bahrain authorities have imposed a ban on any further recruitment of manpower from Bangladesh is cause for extreme concern. At the same time, it is for us a genuine reason to feel outraged. Coming on the heels of the sufferings Bangladeshi workers have been going through in Malaysia and Saudi Arabia, this new move can only add to our growing disquiet about the future of our manpower export sector. What makes the Bahrain move extremely shocking is that it was recommended by a group of lawmakers in that country following the alleged perpetration of a crime by a Bangladeshi.
Any crime committed by anyone in any country is reprehensible, which is why we think that if a Bangladeshi has violated the law in Bahrain he should be dealt with under the law. But for the Bahraini authorities to suppose that one man's crime can be a cause to punish an entire nation through stopping its workers from coming to work in their country is an act that lacks reason itself. Indeed, individuals involved with human rights in Bahrain have protested the move and have described it as an act akin to 'racism'. On its part, the Bangladesh embassy in Manama has made its strong feelings of shock known, calling the Bahraini move unacceptable. What the action now does to Bangladeshis is two-fold. In the first place, those who are already in Bahrain will be treated with suspicion and will find it psychologically difficult to work there. In the second, those who have obtained jobs in Bahrain but are yet to go there will now find their avenues of a happy future blocked. In other words, what we have here is a precarious human rights situation.
In a recent editorial on the plight of our workers in Saudi Arabia, we had recommended that the Bangladesh government adopt a strong position by taking up the issue with the Riyadh authorities. What has happened in Bahrain only reinforces our feeling that the Bangladesh authorities, notably through the Foreign Office and the manpower ministry, must now work out a strategy to assist our workers in all the countries where they happen to be in a state of distress. Let special teams go out to Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain for some hard-nosed discussions with the governments of those countries. The remittances of our workers abroad are a huge prop for our economy. These workers also bolster the economy of the host countries.
We urge the Bahrain government to rethink its entire move in the interest of friendly relations and human rights.

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