As a journalist with Migrant-Rights.org I work on human rights advocacy using the tools of my trade. These are some of the pieces published on the site.
STORIES OF ORIGIN is a new MR series that explores the lived experiences of both returning and potential migrants, and their families. First stop is Nepal, which sees on average 1500 citizens emigrating to the GCC daily.
In the second part of this series, we explore the nature of repatriation, and the lives of the survivors.
In the concluding piece of a three-part series we address issues of recruitment and training. The deadly earthquake in Nepal and the large-scale loss of people, property and livelihood could mean greater vulnerability of the economically downtrodden. It has never been more critical than now for governments in both countries of origin and employment to clean up the migration cycle.
The GCC is home to hundreds of thousands of migrant domestic workers. From cleaning and cooking, to babysitting and tending to the elderly and ill, domestic workers contribute significantly to the upkeep of homes in the region.
NOT JUST KAFALA: QATAR’S BAND-AID TREATMENT FOR A DEEP WOUND DOES NOT RECOGNISE 6 MAIN SYSTEMIC FAILURES
Qatar’s failure is due largely to its stubborn stand of not recognising migrant workers as critical players in national building.
In July 2015, Nepal began its ‘free visa, free ticket’ policy, whereby, potential migrants paid no more than NPR20,000 in processing fees.
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid bin Ra’ad Al Hussein during a recent visit to Qatar, went soft on the country.
A popular Malayalam television program now seeks to use its reach in GCC and India to help migrant workers and their families.
Right outside the Indian Embassy in Doha, Qatar is a plot of landscaped space that some call a park. At any given point of time this ‘park’ serves as a home for migrant workers trying to navigate the complicated path to the airport and head back home. Meanwhile, they are at the mercy of their kafeel or employer who holds their passports, and decides on their exit.
The Chairman of the National Human Rights Committee of Qatar, Ali Bin Smaikh al Marri, claimed that the new decree “replaces kafala with a working contract.” Local Arabic daily Al Sharq, quoted unnamed lawyers saying “Replacing sponsor/sponsored with recruiter/expat means a termination of the kafala system.” Al Sharq says the new law will take effect one year from the date of official publication.
There are over two million* female migrant domestic workers in the GCC, most of whom are from the Philippines and Indonesia.
Qatar’s powerful Shura Council (Advisory Council) that met on June 22 has raised objections to several articles in a draft sponsorship law, which if passed would have met some of Qatar’s promises for labor reform.
Using the power of their signature and their access to multiple domestic workers’ visas, for some citizens in the GCC, the kafala system turns into a revenue stream.
Let’s start with the disclaimer. This is not an apology for Qatar.
The 452 workers who lost every last scrap of their belongings in a fire in Qatar on Friday morning still have their passports in tact. Because the passports have been in the possession of their employer since they started work, Migrant-Rights.org learned while speaking to the victims.
Lebanon’s hold over the most vulnerable of its migrant workers, those in domestic work, has tightened in recent years. But this hasn’t stopped an increasing number of them from joining the recently formed union to fight for their rights.
The narrative on migration – globally, but more so in the Arab world – is polarised, and this is reflected in the way local media covers news on migrants and migration.
The WPS in isolation will do little to improve conditions of low-income migrant workers in the country. Qatar’s failure to reform the oppressive sponsorship system shows reluctance to delve deeper into its labor market problems.
The Indian government has decided to allow Non-Resident Indians (NRI) to vote through e-postal ballots or proxy voting. Though NRIs were never formally disenfranchised, they had to be physically present to cast their vote with no option to cast their ballot remotely.