Prez stresses on collective efforts to ensure rights of migrant workers
KATHMANDU, Nov 26: President Dr Ram Baran Yadav has stressed the need of collective efforts to ensure the rights of migrant workers.
Addressing the International Conference on Cooperation of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) for the Protection and Promotion of Migrant Workers in the Asia Pacific Region on Monday, the President expressed concern over the wretched human rights condition of migrant Nepali workers.
At the conference organised by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Nepal, the president sought a significant role of the human rights commissions of the world in the respective countries to guarantee their rights.
"With the peoples’ movement in 2006 we made significant strides in Nepal’s democratic development. Journey that began with historic 1950 revolution and 1990 movement for multiparty democracy culminated in historical achievements of 2006. In this long journey, it was only in mid-nineties we instituted National Human Rights Commission as our endeavor to create democratic institutions", the President said.
"We are committed to institutionalizing the historic political development and peace process in Nepal to transform the common aspirations of Nepali people for the Democratic Federal Republic as expressed through the popular movement of Nepali people in 2006", he said.
"We are committed to pluralist democracy, rule of law, devolution of power, human rights, and fundamental freedoms of our people. However, we are equally facing formidable challenges in Nepal to bring about rapid and tangible economic benefits to our people", the President added.
Global labor market has extended beyond the national territory, he said, adding that development taking place in other sectors such as construction, industries and transnational corporations has also extended the area for labor market. The demands of laborers from the destination countries are often met by developing countries such as Nepal.
The migrant workers worldwide thus contribute in the process of development of the countries of destination as well. The Nepali migrant workers have been contributing significantly to the national economy with contribution of remittances. The remittances contribute to almost 23 percent of Nepal´s GDP, said the President.
An increasing number of Nepali female migrant workers are working in various countries in informal sectors for low wage occupations such as domestic work. Similarly, female domestic workers are vulnerable for being trafficked and smuggled and become undocumented workers, which put them into further vulnerable situations.
The malpractices of fraud and abuses during the recruitment are increasing attributing to the vulnerability of migrant workers abroad. Therefore, protection of human rights of the migrant workers should be a matter of collective concern of all including sending, receiving and transit countries.
Stating that many countries in the region have not yet ratified the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (CMW), 1990, the President said, therefore, the countries in the region should take initiatives towards ratification of CMW and bring necessary reforms in the national laws and mechanisms to ensure the rights of migrant workers.
Appreciating the initiatives taken by the NHRC Nepal by bringing the NHRIs of Asia Pacific region together to share and discuss ideas and experiences on the promotion and protection of human rights of the migrant workers, he expressed the confidence that the NHRIs of the Asia Pacific region can play a pivotal role in working with their respective Governments and concerned organizations for the promotion and protection of the rights of migrant workers.
He wished all the best for the success of the conference and expressed hope that the conference will be an appropriate platform in developing common strategies of NHRIs for the better protection of human rights of the migrant workers in Asia Pacific region.
Also speaking on the occasion, NHRC Chairman Kedarnath Upadhyay said the conference would be meaningful in ensuring the rights of migrant workers.
Representatives from gulf countries and countries in the South Pacific region including Malaysia, Republic of Korea are taking part in the two-day conference, said NHRC Spokesperson Gauri Pradhan.
The conference is expected to hold broad discussions about the status of human rights and other issues of migrant workers.
According to government statistics, at present over 2.4 million Nepali workers are in foreign countries in connection with abroad jobs while the statistics made available by the non-government sector has put this number at around three million.