A fire in a Manama labor camp killed at least 13 migrant workers on January 11. No information regarding the cause of the fire has been released, but Bahraini labour camps hold a seriously dangerous safety record: In May, a fire in an overcrowded labor camp killed 10 Bangladeshis. In 2009, two men were killed in another overcrowded labor camp – the sixth fire that had struck Bahraini labor camps within a 4-week period.
[Twelve men shared a single room with no beds or air conditioning. Image from HRW.]
In 2008, a fire killed three Bangladeshis living in a run-down building, In 2007, a fire destroyed camps in East Riffa. In 2006, a fire killed 16 Indians and injured 7 others at another Manama labor camp.
[A 2006 Fire in Bahrain left at least 16 laborers dead. Image from ConstructionWeekOnline.com]
Bahraini authorities as well as the companies responsible for these camps have repeatedly rejected efforts to improve housing standards. In 2008, Bahrain’s Migrant Workers’ Protection Society’s (MWPS) attempt to improve safety measures in several labor camp were received with little enthusiasm. Furthermore, some laborers who complain claim they get blackmailed by their companies or threatened with deportation.
Migrant Rights will continue to monitor the incident and will provide updates as more information is released.