The following paragraphs talking about migrant situation in Bahrain during the unrest, from BICI report.
59. According to figures produced by the Bahrain Economic Development Board, around 83% of the total workforce is comprised of non-nationals.
Some observers of the local labour market have noted that Bahraini citizens are often at a disadvantage when competing for jobs with foreign workers, as the latter tend to accept lower wages and poorer working conditions. More than half the jobs created over the past ten years have been in the construction and services sectors, both of which overwhelmingly rely on expatriate labour.
This has been a source of discontent among underprivileged Bahraini citizens, many of whom believe that expatriates take a disproportionate share of the fruits of the national economy.
Complaints regarding the size of the expatriate workforce are not new in Bahrain, and incidents of labour unrest have occurred since as early as 1938. The GoB has attempted to reform the employment and migration system, but the number of expatriates in the country has continued to rise.
60. Relations between locals and expatriates are generally cordial. Indeed, Bahrainis take pride in their reputation for hospitality. Nonetheless, some sources of tension exist. Lower-paid foreign workers tend to live either in isolated encampments segregated from the rest of Bahraini society, or in the historic city centres, which have been increasingly vacated by Bahrainis over the past decade.
61 Better paid expatriates tend to live in gated communities, often in developments on reclaimed land that were sea access points for locals. This lack of social integration and the perception of overtaking places historically inhabited by Bahrainis have created occasional tension between nationals and expatriates.
881. The Commission finds that four expatriate workers died during the relevant period in connection with the events. Two of these deaths are attributable to civilians and are categorised as intentional killings.
The MoI has initiated two investigations into the circumstances surrounding these deaths. One of these investigations has resulted in 11 individuals being charged with the murder of Mr Abdul Malik Ghulam Rasool. The MoI conducted an investigation into the death of Mr Farid Maqbul and this concluded that Mr Maqbul‘s death was attributable to unknown perpetrators.
882. The death of Stephen Abraham is attributable to the BDF. The Military Attorney General‘s investigation found that the calibre and trajectory of the lethal bullet meant that it could not have been fired by the BDF. The investigation concluded that the BDF personnel appeared to have acted in accordance with the law. As has already been stated, the Commission concludes that the Military Prosecution investigations were not effective and consequently they have not complied with international law.
883. The Commission has been unable to attribute the deliberate killing of Mohamed Ikhlas Tozzumul Ali to specific persons or agencies.
The Commission considers that it is likely that Mr Ali was run over by a vehicle. The MoI has initiated an investigation into this death. The investigation has not resulted in the prosecution of any individual.
Deaths of Expatriate Workers
(1) Expatriate workers killed by Mobs
1009. on 13 march 2011, Abdul Malik Ghulam Rasool, a Pakistani national, was pronounced dead. The death certificate states that the cause of death was a severe chest contusion leading to cardiac laceration, caused by cardiac tamponade, which resulted in acute heart failure.
1010. A forensic report confirmed the cause of death and concluded that the deceased sustained cuts and bruises to his shoulder, hand, left knee, left leg, right eye, back and head.
1011 The MoI conducted an investigation into this case. The investigation found that a gang carrying metal bars and knives attacked a group of Pakistanis living in a building in Naeem. One group surrounded the entrance to the building, while a second group broke down the door, entered the building and assaulted the residents. The residents who managed to escape the building were met by the group waiting at the entrance to the building. This group beat the deceased to death.
1012. Eleven persons have confessed to their involvement in this attack. These eleven persons have been charged along with four others with criminal offences, including murder, relating to this attack.
1013. The death of Mr Rasool can be classified as an intentional killing. An investigation was conducted by the MoI, which resulted in the prosecution of fifteen individuals for crimes, including murder, relating to this attack.
Case No. 28 - Fareed Maqbul:
1014. On 19 March 2011, Fareed Maqbul, a Bangladeshi national, was pronounced dead. The death certificate states that the cause of death was multiple trauma injuries to the head and face.
1015. A forensic report confirmed the cause of death and concluded that the deceased received several fractures to the skull and face, which caused bleeding to the brain. In addition, the deceased suffered broken bones, the loss of some teeth, and a number of scrapes and bruises on the arms, the shoulder, the back and the knees.
1016. The MoI conducted an investigation into this case. One witness stated that the deceased was walking alone in Manama when he was attacked by a group of individuals carrying wooden planks and sharp objects. The witness stated that while trying to escape, the deceased was struck by a vehicle. No one has been charged with a crime relating to this death.
1017. The death of Mr Maqbul can be classified as an intentional killing. An investigation was conducted by the MoI, which failed to identify the person responsible for this death.
(2) Expatriate workers killed by security forces
Case No. 29 - Stephen Abraham
1018. On 16 March 2011, Mr Stephen Abraham, an Indian national, was pronounced dead. The death certificate states that the cause of death was a gunshot injury to the right side of the chest.
1019. A forensic report confirmed the cause of death and concluded that the deceased died from one gunshot wound. The bullet was fired from an unspecified distance. The deceased was shot while in a standing position.
1020. The MoI conducted an investigation into this case. The investigation found that the deceased was discovered with a gunshot wound in the right side of his chest. The investigators also found a 3cm hole in the window of the kitchen of the factory room where the deceased was shot. The investigation
concluded that the BDF were responsible for this death. The BDF unit implicated in this incident is the same unit implicated in the case of Ms Bahia A. Alaradi.
1021. BDF investigations show that the deceased was shot in the lower chest region by a .50 Browning Gun bullet, which is identical to the weapon used by the BDF unit stationed near the restaurant where the deceased worked. The BDF personnel stated that none of them fired at the deceased.
During their deployment to the area, there were only two incidents in which they resorted to the use of force: once to disperse a group of protesters and another at an approaching SUV (leading to the death of Ms Alaradi). An ordnance expert noted that the velocity of the weapon and the angle of the entry wound indicates that the bullet was shot from above the deceased. It was therefore impossible for the bullet to have come from the BDF unit given the position of the BDF unit relative to the deceased. This type of bullet can be fired from three types of rifles used by snipers. On the basis of this information, the Military Prosecution concluded that BDF personnel conducted themselves in accordance with the applicable laws and regulations, and there were no grounds to press charges. The BDF referred the case to the (civilian) Public Prosecution to continue its investigations.
1022. The death of Stephen Abraham is attributable to the BDF. The Military AG purports to have conducted an effective investigation. The investigation found that the calibre and trajectory of the lethal bullet meant that it could not have been fired by the BDF. The investigation concluded that the BDF personnel appeared to have acted in accordance with the law.
(3) unattributed deaths
1023. On 15 March 2011, Mohammad Ikhlas Tozzumul Ali, a Bangladeshi national, was pronounced dead. The death certificate states that the cause of death was trauma to the body, which resulted in internal bleeding.
1024. A forensic report confirmed the cause of death and concluded that the deceased died due to physical injuries sustained while he was in Sitra. The deceased suffered skull fractures in the waist, left thigh, left leg and a finger. He also suffered cuts to the right side of the face, forehead, nose, abdomen, thigh, right elbow and right hand.
1025. The Commission received evidence that the deceased was protecting a group of women and children being attacked by security forces when he was shot in the head.
1026. The MoI conducted an investigation into this case. The investigation reported that two witnesses stated that the deceased was run over by a car driven by protesters The witnesses also stated that three other persons were injured in the same incident but have since returned to Bangladesh. In a separate set of statements received by the Commission, witnesses to the event stated that the deceased and the other injured persons were hit by vehicles, which did not bear licence plates. The vehicles were driven by unknown persons, one of whom was masked and was associated with government forces. According to witness, a number of unmarked police vehicles were seen in Sitra during that time, and were actively engaged in confronting the demonstrators, including with the use of shotguns.
1027. The death of Mr Ali can be classified as an intentional killing. An MoI investigation has not resulted in the prosecution of any individuals.
Attacks on Expatriates
1- Factual Background
1505. The expatriate population in Bahrain is alleged to have been the target of violent attacks during the events of February/March 2011. Most complaints received by the Commission pertained to physical injuries, property damage, economic loss, deprivation of the freedom of movement, denial of medical treatment and attacks at places of worship.
1506. Rapid economic growth, particularly in the oil and construction industries, has led to a high demand for workers in Bahrain. This demand has largely been filled by a rapid increase in the number of expatriate and guest workers, especially those originating from South and Southeast Asia. According to the 2010 official census, the total population of Bahrain was 1,234,571 of whom 666,172 (54%) were non-Bahraini. The census also reported that 562,040 of the non-Bahrainis are of Asian nationality. This represents significant growth from the time of the last official census in 2001, which reported that the population of Bahrain was 650,604, of whom 244,937 (37.6%) were non-Bahrainis. A report submitted by the GoB disclosed that in the period 2001-2002, 81% of foreigners naturalised were of Iranian origin, while in the period 2001-2011, 40% of foreigners naturalised were of Iranian origin.
1508. According to reports by the GoB, incitement against expatriates in Bahrain intensified in the aftermath of the contested 2006 parliamentary elections. The GoB alleges that Al Wefaq is responsible for fuelling antiforeigner sentiment and cites a number of articles as inflammatory. For example, the GoB refers to an article published in 2009 which states that ―the majority of naturalized people are barbarians, ignorant, naive, and they are from the mutaradia and natiha [alluding to Islamic terminology of forbidden animal meat] – and they are of Sunni or Salafi origin‖. The GoB also points out the opposition activists often refer to foreign security forces as ―foreign mercenaries‖ and as those behind the crackdown on the protestors. The GoB ties these sentiments to the attacks on expatriate workers.
1509. Al Wefaq criticised the GoB's policy of hiring expatriate and guest workers whilst the unemployment rate of Bahrainis remained high, particularly among the Shia population. It also criticised the GoB for giving preference to naturalised Bahrainis over non-naturalised Bahrainis, more particularly the Shia population, when it came to employment. They also called into question the patriotism and commitment to Bahrain of foreign nationals and disparaged their linguistic abilities and knowledge of Bahraini customs and traditions. Statements touched on a variety of subjects including: increasing literacy rates among the naturalised; preferential housing for the naturalised in predominantly Shia areas; the new policy adopted by the Electricity & Water Authority to recruit non-Bahrainis; recruitment of naturalised Bahrainis into the security apparatus; and the rising insecurity and crime rates in Hamad town. Beginning in mid-January 2011, Al Wefaq led a campaign calling for a halt to the naturalisation of non-Bahrainis and accusedthe GoB of running a "political naturalisation project", which the group asserted would destroy the nation.
1510. The Bahraini population, especially the Shia majority, has over the years expressed the opinion that the GoB has been seeking to undermine their social and political rights. This issue has been on the agenda of election campaigns for a number of years now. It has also been taken up by the various Shia groups in political campaigns and election rallies.
1511. During the events of February/March 2011, the demands of protesters included access to jobs and an increase in salaries. A further grievance was the naturalisation of foreigners. During various demonstrations, antiexpatriate and guest worker chants and slogans were heard. Demonstrators held banners targeting naturalised Bahrainis, threatening them and asking them to leave the country. Some of these banners read: ―Bahrain is free, free Oh naturalised get out‖; ―Bahrain is free free, Oh naturalised, Oh mercenary, Oh killer, your departure time has come‖; and ―Shia plus Sunnis minus naturalised equals a loving country‖.
1512. According to a report submitted to the Commission by the Ministry of Interior (MoI), during the events of February/March 2011, four expatriates were killed and a further 88 expatriates were injured (11 Indian Injured 1 Killed, Bangladeshi 18 injured 2 killed, Pakistani 58 injured 1 killed, Filipino I injured).
1513. On 9 March 2011, in a protest that began at the Ras Romman mosque, thousands of mostly Shia Bahrainis marched on the immigration office in Manama and voiced their opposition towards the granting of citizenship to Sunnis from other countries to serve in the country's military . However, in order to emphasise that the protest was against the GoB‘s naturalisation policy, and not against Bahrain‘s Sunni population, participants also shouted slogans calling for Sunni-Shia unity.
1514. A report submitted to the Commission by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in September 2011 stated that during the events of February/March 2011, foreign labourers residing in Bahrain were subject to acts of violence. The GoB alleged that gangs set up road blocks and check points, where they stopped motorists and pulled them out of their cars, beating foreigners. The GoB also alleged that stores operated by foreign nationals were told by these groups to close or face retribution. This report also included letters from four different Asian embassies regarding death, injuries, material loss and casualties of their respective citizens. The Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that during the February/March 2011 crises a ―group of radicals‖ brutally attacked expatriate workers, while law and order in Bahrain deteriorated within days. It added that, in fear for their life, around 2,000 Pakistanis living in sensitive areas left their houses and requested the Embassy to provide them with temporary shelters. Some of these displaced persons stayed at the Pakistani Club while others stayed at Pakistani schools.
1515. Most attacks against expatriates occurred on 13 and 14 March 2011.The Commission received reports that foreigners were attacked on the streets of Manama. A report prepared by the Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs details an incident on 13 March in which an angry mob locked approximately 40 Pakistanis in Alkuthoot Restaurant and tried to set it on fire. However, the report states, "with the help of community leaders and a Shia Imam, the protestors freed the locked-up Pakistanis".
1516. The Commission also received information about a number of incidents in which attacks against expatriates took place in their homes. Late in the evening of 13 March 2001, a group of individuals entered a residential building in Manama that was inhabited mostly by Asian workers. The group began attacking residents, among whom was a Pakistani citizen named Mr Abdul Malik Gholam Rasul, who was beaten to death. Later Mr Farid Maqbul was attacked and sustained severe injuries from which he subsequently died. As the night proceeded, more cases of attacks against Asian expatriates were recorded. A Pakistani construction worker and Muezzin (person who performs the Islamic call to prayer) suffered serious brain injuries after he was brutally assaulted and had his tongue severely lacerated. Commission investigators reviewed photographs and the medical report confirming the extent of his injuries and visited him at the hospital where he was in a vegetative state. One individual stated that on 13 March 2011 protestors broke into his house in Manama and demanded that he show his identification. He alleges that they beat him with a baseball bat, fracturing his arm, and that whilst beating him they told him that Bahrain was only for Bahrainis and not for Asians.
1517. One complainant reported that on 14 March 2011 he awoke at around 20:00 to find a group of 30-40 youths breaking into his residence carrying knives and steel rods. According to his statement he and other individuals living at the residence were beaten because they were Pakistanis despite telling their attackers that they were labourers and not affiliated with the Bahraini Police. One of the victims claims that: ―They want us to leave Bahrain. Pakistani people have jobs in [the Police Department] that [the Bahrainis] think should be theirs‖. According to a number of Pakistanis who were interviewed by the Commission, they believed that attacks were carriedout by Shia who hated Pakistanis and mistakenly believed them to be soldiers in the Bahrain security forces.
1518. Another complainant reported that on 14 March 2011 protestors broke into a friend‘s home while he was visiting. The protestors asked him if he was a police officer and asked for his identification. The complainant stated that both he and his friends were beaten and kicked before being dragged onto the street where hundreds of protestors were waiting. A video available on the internet showed protestors putting swords to their throats and threatening them. The complainant reported that they were then taken to the GCC Roundabout where the beating continued. Eventually they were taken to SMC where they were again beaten. He reported that a nurse refused to treat him, stating that ―[W]e do not want Indians here, slaughter them!. Along with his friends, the complainant was forced to stand against a wall and beaten. The complainant claimed that they were shown plastic bags and told that they were to be used to carry their bodies. During the ordeal they were accused of being police officers, which they continued to deny.
1519. The Commission also reviewed a number of videos which appeared to show violence against South Asians.
a. In March 2011 Bahrain Television showev video footage of alleged crimes committed against South Asian expatriate workers at the hands of some demonstrators. The video depicts demonstrators seemingly at the beginning of a confrontation, but does not indicate the circumstances or extent of the situation. The video then shows the bodies of two individuals lying on the street. The circumstances related to their deaths are unclear from the video. The video then shows injured South and Southeast Asians receiving medical treatment. Again, the circumstances related to their injuries are unclear from the video.
b. Another video aired during the same period by the same channel depicted South Asian expatriate workers being pulled out of an ambulance at the hospital. The video depicts an injured person on a gurney, followed by two individuals in handcuffs, being taken out of an ambulance and into the hospital. As the injured are escorted into the hospital, it appears that one individual attempts to kick one of the injured individuals, and other onlookers push forward in order to get closer but are held back by what appear to be security personnel.
c. The Dubai-based Al Arabiya news channel aired a video of paramedics, who appeared to join the protesters in hitting injured Indian workers who had been hospitalised. According to Al Arabiya, foreign workers were being assaulted by protesters in order to undermine the national economy.
d. Another video showed a group of protesters including some in a vehicle marked with a Red Crescent running over a Pakistani policeman multiple times.
e. A video submitted by the government depicted a masked individual approaching a bus and attacking the driver, who appeared to be foreign. However, the identity or political affiliation, if any, of the assailant could not be ascertained.
1520. The Commission received statements from 19 complainants indicating that foreign nationals were discriminated against and mistreated by medical staff and protestors while visiting SMC during February and March2001. One witness, who was a SMC employee, stated that during the time protestors took control of SMC he witnessed foreign patients being beaten by protestors. He also stated that foreign nationals were compelled to confess, in a video broadcast on television, that they were spies working for the government. The witness also claimed that Shia nurses refused to treat injured foreigners. Another witness working at SMC claimed Asians were attacked by protestors in the presence of doctors and nurses.
1512. The Commission further received reports of 16 attacks against expatriates in the work place. Eight of these related to attacks on private businesses owned by expatriates. Complaints related to the destruction of property, physical and verbal abuse, as well as economic loss. The owner of a Bangladeshi restaurant described an attack on his restaurant by approximately50 masked protestors, who forced themselves into the premises, vandalised it and severely beat an employee with metal objects. He reported that the injured employee was refused treatment at SMC and was so traumatised that he left Bahrain for Bangladesh.
1522. The Commission received statements from four expatriates describing attacks at various mosques. One individual stated that on 31 March 2011 unknown individuals attacked the Salman Hussein Bin Matar mosque, where he worked, physically assaulting him and vandalising the mosque. Another complainant described to Commission investigators that a group of protestors attacked the mosque where he worked, cutting down palm trees to block the street and vandalising the mosque. This individual stated that he stayed inside the mosque for 14 days because he was too scared to leave. Another individual described how he was attacked close to the mosque where he worked by protestors carrying sticks and suffered serious injuries. He later changed his job out of fear of being attacked again. Several attacks on places of worship used by expatriate and guest workers, especially Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, were reported by Al Karama, a non-governmental organisation. These included: Al Zouwada Mosque in Ras Romman on 14 March 2011; al Gharbi Souk al Lahema Mosque in Manama on 16 March 2011; Mubarak al Hessawi Mosque in Manama on 16 March 2011; Sheikh Ali ben Khalifa al Khalifa Mosque in Manama on 17 March 2011; and, Al Moughirah ben Shoueba Mosque in Sitra on 18 March 2011.
1523. The Commission also received statements from four individuals claiming that they had been verbally and physically abused at school and university due to being naturalised citizens. One student reported that on 4March she was physically assaulted outside her school by a group of students chanting ―naturalised citizen, get out of school‖. The student‘s sister similarly claimed that when she was leaving school she was attacked by approximately 12 students chanting "naturalized citizen, leave the school".
1524. On 26 March 2011, the Foreign Minister of Bahrain indicated that he met with members of the Asian communities and inspected the conditions of foreign nationals residing in Bahrain. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also reaffirmed the right of foreigners to security, stability and work in Bahrain and the Ministry has indicated that it will take measures to financially compensate the victims of such attacks.
Findings and Conclusions
1525. The Commission found sufficient evidence to establish that some expatriates, in particular South Asian workers, were the targets of attacks during the events of February/March 2011. The Commission finds that four expatriates were killed by mob attacks during the events and many were injured.
1526. Pakistanis, in particular, were the target of attacks owing to their membership of some of them in the BDF and police force. Various neighourhoods where expatriates live in Bahrain were the subject of sporadic attacks. The attacks on expatriates created an environment of fear, resulting in many of them leaving their homes and living in shelters. Other foreign nationals relayed to the Commission that they feared leaving their homes, attending services at their places of worship, or going to work. This caused many foreign nationals economic loss because they were fearful of returning to work and opening their businesses. The attacks on South Asian expatriates also resulted in hundreds of Bangladeshis, Pakistanis and Indians fleeing the country.
1527. There is a high degree of mistrust of immigrants by the Shia community, partly because they are perceived to be a threat to the job market for Bahrainis, and partly because of their membership in the security forces. The employment of naturalised individuals in the country‘s Armed Forces, National Guard and various law enforcement agencies has, provoked racial and sectarian strife and sometimes xenophobic sentiments towards foreigners. This has been exacerbated by the involvement of those forces in what has been thought to be repressive tactics during the period of unrest
1528. To develop educational programs at the primary, secondary and university levels to promote religious, political and other forms of tolerance, as well as promote human rights and the rule of law.