‘Govt should protect rights of migrant workers’

Kathmandu, September 27

The 2nd National Conference on Migration was held in the capital today.

Minister for Labour and Employment Surya Man Gurung said Nepal lacked a proper system, making it difficult to manage numerous sectors in the country.“Ministries have failed to work in tandem with one another.

Often, the ministries obstruct each others’ actions instead of helping each other,” he said.

Minister Gurung said the country was not being responsible enough about migration and human trafficking.

CNN Hero and Director of Maiti Nepal Anuradha Koirala claimed that the government was not playing its role of being a guardian of the citizens. She said the government needed to be more responsible towards those facing physical and sexual violence while working in foreign countries.

According to a report prepared by the Ministry of Labour and Employment, more than 5,000,000 Nepalis migrated to foreign countries for employment and around Rs 400.44 billion remittance entered the country in the last 10 months.

Koirala said, “Human trafficking cases are increasing rapidly and many victims are not even aware that their rights are being violated.” She said the destination of trafficking had changed lately.

People, especially women, are being trafficked to countries like India, Sri Lanka, the Russian Federation, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Malaysia, Syria, China, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa, Algeria, Egypt, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Dubai, Iraq, Qatar, and Bahrain.

“Although women in the past were trafficked to Gulf nations only, the number of ‘destination’ countries has increased,” said advocate for Maiti Nepal Uma Tamang. Tamang shared a case story of Hira Maya (named changed) that exemplifies the plight of migrant workers.

Hira Maya had moved from Hetauda to Kuwait as a domestic help hoping to support her family. From the very second day of her arrival in Kuwait, her employer began torturing her physically. She was detained in her employer’s house illegally even after her visa had expired.

After 15 days of staying in police custody, Hira Maya returned to Nepal.

The employer had reportedly said he had bought Hira Maya for a huge sum and said he would not allow her to be returned to her country unless the money he spent on purchasing her was returned to him.

Tamang said that despite people living in hellish conditions in foreign countries, the nation remains silent on the matter.