24 April 2012

Dr Patrick Roach, Deputy General Secretary of NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union, has today arrived in Bahrain as part of an international trade union delegation to call for the release of two leading teacher trade unionists, who have been subjected to brutal and inhumane treatment by the authorities.

The delegation is set to meet King Hamad bin 'Issa Al Khalifa and will urge him to drop all charges relating to Mahdi Issa Abu Dheeb, President of the Bahrain Teachers’ Association (BTA), and Vice President Jalila Al Salman.

These trade unionists have been unjustly imprisoned and tortured for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression and assembly during the recent uprising in Bahrain.

There is no evidence that the BTA has used or advocated violence during the recent protests and the NASUWT believes that their arrest and detention is a deliberate attempt by the authorities to undermine the ability of a legitimate trade union to organise and a contravention of international human rights law.

The NASUWT is deeply concerned by reports that the arbitrary arrest, detention and torture of teachers and students is continuing in Bahrain and that they are being expelled from their studies and jobs without justification.

Dr Roach, who is an Executive Board member of Education International, said:

“Our delegation is here to show the authorities in Bahrain that the world is watching and that we will not stand by while repression, torture and abuse of citizens is continuing.

“We will be calling on the King of Bahrain immediately to drop all charges relating to Mahdi Issa Abu Dheeb and Jalila Al Salman.

“We also will be calling on the Government to recognise the Bahrain Teachers’ Association and to allow teachers and academics to organise freely as trade unionists in accordance with international conventions.

“We will be urging the Bahraini authorities that they must act immediately to comply with international human rights and to respect fully the fundamental rights and freedoms of teachers, students and union activists in accordance with international standards.”