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The Crisis In Bahrain Must be Solved Through National Dialogue

By MarEx 2011-03-17 15:40:21

The Director-General of the International Labour Office, Juan Somavia, expresses his grave concern at today's declaration of a state of emergency in Bahrain. This constitutes a serious setback to civil liberties, including the rights to legitimate trade union action. In the current volatile situation it is even more urgent to intensify efforts towards the dialogue that has started between the Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain and the key actors of society.

The Director-General shares fully the concern expressed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations and other world leaders about the recent violence and the excessive use of force against peaceful demonstrators, which have included many trade unionists.

Director-General Somavia emphasizes that "the ILO's long-standing activities with the member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council have underscored the central role of social dialogue for decent work. Today, forward-looking national dialogue is needed more than ever in Bahrain. It is clear that the resort to security measures together with external intervention risks further complications in the already protracted crisis."

The ILO has supported legislation to enable the General Federation of Bahraini Trade Unions to play a full and responsible role in social dialogue and negotiations. The Director-General reminds that the Bahraini trade unions have continued to call for reforms in a peaceful and constructive way. Under all circumstances their rights to act and speak need to be scrupulously respected, and they must be able to remain full partners in the search for solutions that can bring the nation together through genuine negotiations.