Call to protect Nepali migrant workers’ rights

Kathmandu, December 29:

GEFONT takes up cudgels on their behalf.

Around 250 million people are working in the global labor market, that is three per cent of the total global population. These people send remittance to their respective countries but the government of Nepal lacks seriousness about its migrant worker population, according to a study.

“The trend of people going out as migrant workers started in 1950. Nepal is one country which provides the major portion of migrant workers and the remittance sent home by this population supports the economy,” said Nisha Baniya, an advocate during an interaction program on ‘Migrant Workers’ Rights’ organized by the General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions (GEFONT).

“The official data of the total number of Nepalis working as migrant workers from 1993-94 to 2008-09 is 12,04,937. This year only, till mid-December a total of 14,200 Nepalis left the country,” said Baniya adding, “As Nepal is the main country providing workers, laws made only by Nepal will not be effective. There must be bilateral agreement with countries where most of the Nepalis go as migrant workers. As our government is in the phase of drawing up a new constitution, we hope there will be effective laws for migrant workers.”

According to GEFONT president Mukunda Neupane, the country earns about Rs 242 billion as

remittances from the migrant workers but it fails to grant security to those workers in foreign countries due to lack of policy.

It is also reported that

the Nepalese embassies there don’t support the Nepalese migrant workers.

“ Our country has around 25 per cent of youths in the total population but due to lack of qualification and education, they are unskilled. This is a major factor for their exploitation in foreign countries,” said GEFONT representative Dr Shiva Sharma.

“Several human outsourcing firms are cheating Nepalese who want to go abroad as migrant workers,” said Pema Lama, secretary at the Central Women Workers’ Department (CWWD) adding that the most exploited are women, who are sent abroad as undocumented workers. They do not have any option as the country lacks the rule of equality for women and doesn’t provide them job opportunities. The whole procedure of sending migrant workers should be regulated and made effective so that Nepalese don’t get cheated.

Giving data on Nepali migrant workers abroad, Baniya said, “Due to lack of skills and information, Nepalese migrant workers are facing tough times and insecurity in foreign countries. Three people die daily. In a year, 1100 dead bodies of Nepali migrant workers are sent home. Around 100 people daily get victimized but the government has not shown any concern.”