20 May 2011
Migrant rights group appeals to Bahrain govt. to grant amnesty for undocumented migrants
Barely a week until the lifting of the State of National Safety that was announced by the Bahrain government, fifty-four (54) undocumented migrants have been arrested by Bahrain authorities according to Migrante-Middle East, a Filipino migrants right group providing assistance to distress migrant workers in the Middle East.
John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional director, citing local reports, on Thursday “Bahrain Interior ministry on nationality, passports and residence directorate arrested 54 illegal migrants of various nationalities.”
“According to reports we have received, there were Filipino workers nabbed on last week crack down on undocumented migrants, but we are still verifying how many and who they are,” Monterona added.
Monterona said it is understandable on the part of the Bahraini govt. to strictly impose its immigration laws and initiate a clamp down on undocumented and illegal migrants as it was beset by massive protests staged by anti-government dissenters, months ago.
“We viewed that the on-going crackdown of undocumented migrants as part of the efforts of the Bahrain authorities to maintain and secure its internal peace and order situation under its State of National Safety declaration but we are quite sure that the undocumented, mostly Asian migrant workers, are not part of the anti-government groups,” Monterona added.
Monterona said most of the undocumented migrants were forced to run away from their employers on claim that they were abused and exploited and have became victim of rampant labor malpractices.
“Many of them have been charged of absconding, which is a crime, a breach to the host government immigration laws, and their work visas expired and became illegal migrants,” Monterona explained.
Monterona said thus his group is urging the host govt. to be prudent and be considerate on its efforts to root out the undocumented from the country.
Monterona appeals to Bahrain authorities to respect the rights of the undocumented migrants, mostly Asian migrants including fellow Filipino migrant workers. “Though undocumented they deserve humane treatment,” Monterona added.
“We appeal to the kindness of Bahrain’s King Hamad to consider the granting of amnesty for all undocumented and illegal migrants as what its neighboring countries have done few months back,” Monterona averred.
The Saudi and Kuwaiti governments announced the granting of amnesty to all undocumented and illegal migrants on February and March, respectively. The Saudi government through the kindness of His Highness King Abdullah had announced a Royal pardon grant to petty crimes offenders without private rights liability. (end)
John Leonard Monterona
Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator