Thursday, June 12, 2014

Migrant workers lack access to justice: Report

KATHMANDU: A new report titled ‘Migrant Workers’ Access to Justice at Home: Nepal’ reveals that few Nepali migrant workers ever receive compensation for the range of abuses they endure from the moment of recruitment throughout the migration process due to weak implementation of the nation’s laws on foreign employment. 

“Migrant workers’ access to justice at home is elusive. If migrant workers can’t get justice at home how will they get justice abroad?” questioned Surya Nath Mishra, former Nepali ambassador to Qatar, at launch of the report on Monday. 

Migrants routinely report problems including fraud by agents, overcharging recruitment fees, delaying or cancelling a worker’s departure, and failing to provide correct pre-departure documents, including receipts and contracts, the report says. Women and irregular migrant workers have an especially hard time, according to report, because they are more vulnerable to abuses abroad, and have lower awareness of their rights and encounter additional obstacles to seeking justice. 

Commenting on the report, migration expert Ganesh Gurung added, “A major barrier in migrant workers being able to use the legal system is the issue of payment receipt. Migrant workers pay the recruitment agencies and they are not given payment receipts so they have ‘no proof’ and are unable to use to the legal mechanisms. Further, there is also a need for counselling services for migrant workers and for conducting more comparative research on gender and migration.” 

The report has made 16 recommendations so that government and civil society can effectively monitor recruitment agencies and resolve migrant’ complaints.


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