New push to protect Bahrain expats
Manama, February 8, 2011
A call has gone out for governments of expatriate workers to further ensure they are fit to work or arrive in Bahrain through legal channels.
The move is becoming increasingly urgent as the number of expats in the country is rising, said Migrant Workers Protection Society action committee head Noora Feleyfel.
Her comments follow the release of the country's 2010 census, which revealed that expat males alone outnumber the total female population.
The total female population in Bahrain was 466,157 compared to 481,175 expat males.
The figures, released by the Central Informatics Organisation, put Bahrain's total population at 1,234,571, including 768,414 males and 466,157 females - an increase of 128,062 from 2008 statistics.
Total population of expats in Bahrain reached 666,172, the vast majority of males are Asian, with a total 433,756 hailing from countries there.
'More workers in Bahrain is a very good thing for the economy, for us and to their countries,' said Feleyfel.
'However, countries sending their labour force should screen them beforehand to ensure they are healthy and fit to work.
'They should also make sure they are not completely illiterate and from poor rural areas as they might end up very vulnerable to exploitation and abuse when working abroad.'
Bahrain's government has already taken positive steps to protect labourers, one of which is pledging to inspect all labour accommodations to ensure they are fit to live in, she said.
Plans are also reportedly underway to open a men's shelter for labourers who have been subjected to abuse, added Feleyfel.
'We need to ensure that each of these workers are protected during their time in Bahrain,' she said.
Feleyfel also stressed that countries should ensure their citizens have some sort of representation in case of any problems if an embassy is not present in Bahrain.-TradeArabia News Service