This is an excerpt from The Huffington Post article, "Bahrain's Denial of Visas to Rights Activists Underscores Contempt for Human and Worker Rights," by Cathy Feingold, director of AFL-CIO's International Department.
What is the best way for the United States to stand against violent repression, the quashing of dissent, show trials, torture and other egregious violations of human and civil rights?
In the case of Bahrain, apparently, it is to include the country in a new U.S. trade and investment plan and offer mostly silence as the regime crushes its opposition, invests heavily in a public relations campaign and closes off the country to human rights and social justice activists.
Two weeks ago, the AFL-CIO awarded a human rights award to the General Federation of Bahrain Trade Unions (GFBTU) and their Tunisian counterparts, the General Union of Tunisian Workers (UGTT), for the courageous role they played during the Arab uprisings of early 2011. The two countries offer a stark contrast in outcomes, with the people of Bahrain seeing their chances for a more democratic and just society dimming by the day.
The GFBTU—a nonsectarian organization whose membership includes 60 unions and workers from industrial, textile, construction, petroleum, insurance and other sectors—has consistently advocated for social and economic justice through dialogue with all social partners. Its commitment to this agenda and to a broader dialogue that would allow for the democratic participation of all Bahrainis has proved threatening to powerful elements of the royal family who runs the country.