Demands for Anti-Harassment Law

Assistant Secretary-General of working women and children in the Bahrain Workers’ Union Suad Al Mubarak raised the issue of sexual and physical harassment against women saying in an interview with Al Watan newspaper on 29 November 2009 that the Union receives many

complaints from working women who have been subjected to harassment, and that these women have often been fired when they filed complaints against those responsible. Mubarak demanded the passing of new legislations against the harassment of women, especially as there are presently no laws which criminalize violence against women and children in the family, public places or work meaning there is a lack in protection and safety procedures. It is noteworthy here that Bahrain has signed several international agreements which commit it to undertake strict legal procedures towards these kinds of crimes. The Government is also required to harmonize its existing legislations to ensure that women and children are protected from all kinds of harassments.

Lawyer and political activists Fatima Al Hawajj explained that sexual harassment in the work place has become a phenomenon due to the negative perception of women from pre-Islamic culture and values. She added that the current law does contain some paragraphs within the Penal Code in the rape section, but the law does not even define the expression ‘sexual harassment’.