On World Teacher Day, Unions Support Jailed Bahraini Teachers

Today, World Teachers’ Day, reminds us how valuable teachers are for building our future—and how fragile their profession can be. Massive teacher shortages are “quietly looming over countries struggling to provide every child with quality primary education by 2015,” according to UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

In Bahrain, where nearly 3,000 citizens who took part in last year’s Arab uprisings were dismissed form their jobs and many arrested, teachers were among those targeted.

Mahdi Abu Dheeb, president of the Bahrain Teachers Association (BTA) and Jalila Al Salman, BTA vice president, have been sentenced to 10 years and three years, respectively, for exercising their right to speech and free association. Al Salman has been released while awaiting her appeal, but Abu Dheeb, who has diabetes, is still imprisoned and suffering from poor health associated with his diabetes and the prison conditions.

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Education International and Amnesty International have filed protests on Abu Dheeb’s behalf and are working toward him release while he awaits his appeal. The global labor movement and human rights groups also are working on behalf of the many Bahrainis who are suffering from retaliatory acts of the government.

The Solidarity Center has joined the global labor movement and human rights groups in strongly opposing threats and media attacks against workers and their organizations, attempts to subvert independent unions, and the flawed process of rehiring people fired in the wake of the protests where many still face workplace discrimination.

At Stand Up for Bahrain Teachers, you can show your support for Abu Dheeb and all imprisoned Bahraini teachers. The Tumblr site showcases photos that teachers and others have taken with signs of support for Bahraini teachers. Here’s how you can join them.

Take a photo with a message of support.

Send the photo to iad@aft.org. Add an additional message in the body of your e-mail, if you wish. In a few days, you will see it at http://standupforbahrainteachers.tumblr.com/

Post it to Facebook and invite your friends to create their own photos.

Tweet any of these messages if you’re on Twitter:

  • Teachers Belong in School, Not Prison! Justice for #Bahrain’s Teachers now!
    @Khaled_Bin_Ali @MOSDsocial @MoeBahrain
  • We demand justice for leaders of the #Bahrain Teachers Association @Khaled_Bin_Ali @MOSDsocial @MoeBahrain
  • We stand behind #Bahrain Teachers Association! @Khaled_Bin_Ali @MOSDsocial @MoeBahrain
    Amnesty International also offers more ideas on how you can take action to speak out on behalf of Bahraini teachers.

Amnesty International also offers more ideas on how you can take action to speak out on behalf of Bahraini teachers.