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Nepal needs to formulate clear laws governing women migrants rights and well-being

May 11, 2022 330

KATHMANDU: Nepal would be able to raise its stature before the United Nations (UN) at International Migration Review Forum (IMRF) 2022 if the government reviewed and made progress on women issues front.

Women’s Rehabilitation Center (WOREC), in a memorandum submitted to Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Gobinda Bandi on Wednesday, urged the government to formulate clear laws governing women migrants rights and well-being.

This comes as the first IMRF is set to take place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on May 17-20, 2022.

IMRF is to review the progress made at the local, national, regional and global levels in implementing the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) in the framework of the United Nations (UN) through a State-led approach.

Noting the government’s policy and programs concerning women migrants are based on protectionist approach rather than human rights, WOREC Chairperson Renu Adhikari urged Minister Bandi to redress government approach, national policies and laws related to women migrants rights.

The government has placed several restrictions for women, who aspire to go abroad for employment, in contravention with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

WOREC submitted a 12-point memorandum before the Minister.

The demands include amendment to existing Foreign Employment Act 2007 by incorporating women migrants experiences, ensuring that information to aspirant migrants at the community level is provided though legal mechanisms, provisioning adequate education and training related to the labor destination country for women, among others.

The demands stress formulating bilateral or tripartite agreements to safeguard women migrants wages, insurance and health facilities in destination countries and setting up robust information-distribution cells to protect them from the fraudulent activities of foreign employment agents.

WOREC also highlighted the prompt rescue of women from labor destinations in case of violence and re-integration of returnees into society by making utmost utilization of returnees skills within the nation. Doing so would also restore self-esteem and respect of women in society and increase women productivity, contribution to the economy.

The organization also urged to change laws that promote discrimination against women migrants, and ratify International Labor Organization treaties such as C189 – Domestic Workers Convention 2011, Violence and Harassment Convention 2019, among other related documents.

Organizations working for the rights of women migrant workers WOREC, Tarangani Foundation and Paurakhi hoped that sensitizing the government on women issues, including female migration, would help the government formulate appropriate policies and laws related to female foreign employment.

WOREC Chairperson Adhikari, after handing over the demand letter to the Minister, said Nepal should be serious about addressing issues of women migrant workers. She viewed that government restrictions on women seeking to go to foreign countries directly curtailed women’s fundamental right to work and promoted discrimination.

Notably, reports indicate that about 90 percent Nepali women are compelled to work in Malaysia and Middle East illegally due to government-placed discriminatory restrictive provisions.

In such a context, the government must facilitate and regulate women migration rather than imposing discriminatory restrictive measures on women, WOREC said.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Employment Board approved labor permits of 11,456 female migrant workers (4,557 skilled and 5717 unskilled) from July 2020 to July 2021.