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Labour Minister using migrant workers as scapegoat for government's economic failures

On January 29, 2008

Laudable statement from The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights:

The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights strongly condemns recent comments made by the Labour Minister (, in which he warns that Gulf countries face danger of an "Asian tsunami" because of the high numbers of migrant workers upon which Gulf countries are reliant.

Minister Majid al-Alawi allegedly said the migrant workers presented "a danger worse than the atomic bomb or an Israeli attack".

"It is an irresponsible statement to suggest that migrant workers, who leave their families and homes behind to work and provide us essential services, and build our countries, are a danger to the citizens here," BCHR vice president Nabeel Rajab said.

"This kind of statement promotes racial hatred - and puts the blame for the government's own failure to deal with unemployment on the shoulders of the most vulnerable community in our country.

"We call on the Minister to retract this statement. We would hope a member of a government which sits on the United Nations Human Rights Council would demonstrate greater respect towards the dignity and rights of migrant workers to live and work among us in peace."