Female migrants at higher risk of suicide

Kathmandu, May 10

Female migrant workers, especially those who work as domestic help, reportedly have increasingly high suicide rate.

According to the national report released by the National Human Right Commission, the number of suicidal cases has increased by more than twelve-folds in between fiscal 2008/9 and 2015/16, while the increase in the number of migrant workers during this period was by 2.3 per cent.

Many Nepalis are compelled to seek foreign employment due to lack of employment opportunities at home. This has brought several challenges in protecting the rights of migrant workers, especially with regard to protecting them exploitation.

Women constitute less than five per cent of the 3.6 million migrant workers documented during the period from the fiscal 2006/7 to 2015/16 in the country. The major destination countries of Nepali migrant workers are Malaysia (31 per cent), Qatar (27 per cent), Saudi Arabia (21 per cent), and UAE (12.5 per cent).

Women migrant workers are reported to have mostly gone for work to the Gulf region through India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. More than 200,000 Nepali women are said to be in the Gulf region for domestic work.

The report suggested that the many female domestic workers in the Gulf region are in the state of forced labour due mainly to the Kafala system in which an employer has a complete control over worker. Evidences of sexual abuse, assault and rape are widely reported.