I have received multiple reports from South Asian and South East Asian migrant contract workers having their passports withheld from them by their Bahraini employers.
The Saudi occupation of Bahrain and the general repressive conditions of life under the Kalifa regime has made the lives of these workers quite difficult as prices of basic goods have risen sharply and freedom of movement has been sharply restricted. The safety of these workers is not able to be guaranteed under the present conditions and many wish to leave the situation and return to their families in their home countries.
Activists supporting he just struggle of the Bahraini for the right to build a secular democratic nation should be mindful of the conditions that these workers face and demand that they also be entitled to their basic rights, labor rights, freedom of movement, personal security and their right to return to their home countries if they desire.
Statements on the part of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and other leaders of the Bahrain democracy movement calling for respect for the rights of these individuals should be heeded and commended.
These workers should be viewed as potential allies in the broad struggle for justice, civil rights and human rights in Bahrain and elsewhere in the world.