//Steps needed to safeguard expat workers

Steps needed to safeguard expat workers


BAHRAINI authorities must introduce measures to protect expatriate workers from being detained against their will by employers, a human rights group demanded yesterday.

The Migrant Workers Protection Society (MWPS) condemned the recent incident in which six Indian workers were locked up in a freezer truck and abandoned in a Hamad Town scrap yard by a Bahraini sponsor.

The man was also said to have kidnapped one of their colleagues, trapped him underneath a bathtub turned upside-down and then parked his jeep over it. Several of the workers have said they were also physically assaulted by the sponsor.

The incident allegedly occurred over a visa dispute, the details of which are not clear.

"This incident comes just a few days after another 39-year-old Indian worker was apparently locked-up in a room, against his will, for five days by the company he works for, as reported in the GDN," a spokesman said in a statement issued yesterday.

"That worker has subsequently been repatriated by that company."

The behaviour of the sponsors was described by the MWPS as "extremely inhumane" and "a violation of human rights and human dignity."

"The MWPS sincerely feel that the authorities should take appropriate action against all those responsible for detaining workers – labourers or housemaids – against their will, and should also introduce measures to protect these workers," said the spokesperson.

Nobody should take the law into their own hands, the spokesman said.

"Locking up of any worker itself is completely against the law."

The MWPS thanked the Indian Embassy staff, Indian Community Relief Fund members and Hamad Town Police Station for their role in releasing labourers, who it said were "victims of injustice".

"Not only are these incidents inhumane and against the law, but also do not speak well about the country and the possibility of what employers can do to innocent workers," the group warned.