Govt urged to rescue Nepalis stranded abroad

Kathmandu, August 13

The National Human Rights Commission has recommended that the Government of Nepal rescue Nepalis stranded in foreign countries on the basis of their financial condition and risk analysis.

‘Report on Human Rights Situation of Nepali Migrant Workers during the COVID-19 Pandemic’ released by NHRC Chairperson Anup Raj Sharma, on behalf of the rights body in Kathmandu today, urged the government to rescue Nepali migrant workers, both recorded or unrecorded, taking into account their wish to return to home country. The NHRC has also recommended the government to rescue the needy Nepalis, who have not been provided with airfare by their employers and have been rendered jobless for months.

The government has also been told to strictly follow the orders issued earlier by the Supreme Court and Parliamentary committees with regard to the rescue work of Nepalis stranded in India and other countries.

“The government should also guarantee the rights of people to perform the last rites of their loved ones, who have died in destination countries due to various reasons. For this, the concerned authorities are supposed to prioritise the process of bringing their bodies to Nepal,” the report stated.

Earlier, the apex court had ordered the government to use its fund to rescue Nepali migrant workers, who have been stranded in various countries and are willing to return home amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

As per the court’s order, the government should use Foreign Employment Fund to repatriate Nepali migrant workers, who have been working abroad, on the basis of labour permits issued by the authorised body.

Currently, the government has Rs 5.7 billion in the fund. Nepalis, who are in various countries for foreign employment with labour permits, have contributed to the fund.

The apex court held that the government could not shy away from its duty to rescue Nepalis, who had left the country for employment with labour permits but were compelled to return home before the completion of their contract, were not entitled to get air-tickets from destination countries or employers, were left penniless and could not afford to buy travel ticket and were seeking help of diplomatic mission.

Tens of thousands of Nepalis, mostly migrant workers, have been stranded in foreign countries and at the border with India for the past few months.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on August 14, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.