Resolution In Support Of The General Federation Of Trade Unions And The Civilian Population Of Bahrain

Sent by Ralph Schoenman
Guest Writer
Dandelion Salad
13 April, 2011

Whereas on March 14, 2011 the San Francisco Labor Council adopted a Resolution in which it was resolved that the SFLC “declares its full solidarity and support for the General Strike action taken by the General Federation of Workers Trade Unions of Bahrain.”(GFBTU);

Whereas on that date the San Francisco Labor Council condemned the invasion of Bahrain by Saudi Arabian and Gulf Cooporation Council (GCC) forces;

Whereas the GFBTU, representing sixty organizations and seventy trade unions, with close to 100% support from membership, shut down Aluminium Bahrain (ALBA), Bahrain Petroleum Company (BAPCO), Bahrain Aviation and all major companies in protest against the disappearance of workers, daily torture and killing of workers and peaceful demonstrators and the use of chemical weapons, attack helicopters and automatic weapons on civilians in their homes, workplaces and villages throughout Bahrain;

Whereas GFBTU leaders ended the strike on March 22, 2011 in response to governmental assurances that random killing, wounding and disappearance of workers, their families and the general population would cease;

Whereas as soon as the General Strike was ended, participating workers and their families were attacked, detained and banned from employment;

Whereas GFBTU leaders Karim Radhi and General Secretary Salman Jaffar al Mahfoodh appealed to trade unions and working people in every country to defend the lives and livelihoods of Bahrain’s workers and to defend the people of Bahrain against ruthless and murderous repression;

Whereas the removal and disappearance of workers was extended to Batelco, APM terminals and the University of Bahrain exceeding 1,380, 800 and 453 workers in three locations;

Whereas on April 5, Solidarity Center, on behalf of the AFL-CIO, declared that it “is calling for an immediate end to threats, firing, and arrests of rights activists and workers in Bahrain, where the government has imposed a harsh and brutal crackdown upon dissent;”

Whereas Solidarity Center denounced further the “shooting and killing of protesters, removing the wounded from hospitals, raiding homes and offices” and “detaining hundreds of protesters, activists and opposition leaders;”

Whereas Solidarity Center appealed further on behalf of “five leaders of the Bahraini Teachers’ Federation and of Rulla al Saffar, President of the Bahrain Nursing Society” who were detained and have not been seen;

Whereas Nancy Mills, Solidarity Center Interim Executive Director, declared that “Bahrain is in clear violation of its international commitments to respect basic human and labor rights. The repression must end;”

Whereas the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), representing 175 million workers and 305 member organizations in 151 countries was joined by Global Union Federations and National Affiliates across the world in declaring “our total and unwavering support and solidarity with the trade union movement of Bahrain;”

Whereas the ITUC was joined by the Trades Union Council of Great Britain which called upon its membership for donations through the TUC AID Solidarity Appeal for the GFBTU and the working people of Bahrain;

Whereas the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers condemned the firing from their jobs of all Executive Board members of the GFBTU, denounced the seizure of GFBTU headquarters by security forces and the demand by security forces that General Secretary Jaffar Salman al Mahfoodh place himself in security custody;

Whereas workers at Alba were stopped from entering the building and were detained, doctors and nurses at Salmaniya Medical Complex were sacked and the union representing doctors and nurses in Bahrain was disbanded by Bahrain’s Health Ministry;

Whereas Bahrain Telecommunications, Gulf Air, Bahrain Airport Services and APM Terminals Bahrain fired all striking workers permanently, the Education Ministry disbanded the teachers’ union and arrested its President Mahdi Abu Deeb;

Whereas Human Rights Watch, the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner and Amnesty International have condemned the disappearance and death of doctors, surgeons and medical personnel and of wounded patients from hospitals and clinics;

Whereas Irish Times reporter Finian Cunningham has documented “torture, chemical warfare, including the use of nerve gas and organ theft” wherein “as many as 17 bodies of victims released from military custody showed signs of deep surgery from the neck to the abdomen” including “Abdul Razal al Hujairi and fifteen year old Sayed Ahmed Saeed Shams” revealing “organ theft requiring “international independent inquiry;”

Whereas this barbarous repression has unfolded less than three-quarters of a mile from the Fifth Fleet and U.S. command headquarters stationed in Bahrain and, in the words of reporter Finian Cunningham, “clear evidence of multiple violations under international law” is unfolding “only kilometers away from thousands of U.S. military personnel;”

Whereas on March 14, 2011 the San Francisco Labor Council by Resolution further resolved “that Bahrain is the headquarters of the U.S. Fifth Fleet and of military intelligence in the region and condemns the role of the government of the United States in the subjugation and brutalization of the people of Bahrain;”

Whereas the International Labor Organization in Geneva has condemned the collective firing of striking workers in Bahrain and announced it will send a high-level delegation as soon as possible to meet the authorities in Manama;”

BE IT RESOLVED that the San Francisco Labor Council joins the trade union movement and working people across the world in pledging its unstinting solidarity with the GFBTU, the working class and the people of Bahrain;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the San Francisco Labor Council calls upon the government of the United States to condemn these acts and demand an immediate end to the criminal invasion of Bahrain by Saudi Arabia and the GCC troops, and that the U.S. government denounce the use of U.S. F 16 attack aircraft, Cobra helicopters, U.S. weaponry, and U.S. supplied chemical and nerve gas on civilians and villages throughout Bahrain;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the San Francisco Labor Council joins Human Rights officials and activists from many countries in calling for an international investigation and adjudication of crimes against humanity committed by foreign and domestic forces of repression, finding culpable any government that has provided forces of repression in Bahrain with political and military support.

Resolution respectfully submitted by:

  • Alan Benjamin (OPEIU Local 3)
  • Ann Robertson (California Faculty Association)
  • David Welsh (NALC 214)


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