Bangladeshi workers’ complaints of abuse conveyed to Saudi govt

KSA mulls framing laws to punish errant employers: EWOE state minister

Md Owasim Uddin Bhuyan | Published: 01:42, Mar 16,2019

 
 

The issues of Bangladeshi domestic workers facing sexual abuse and physical torture in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have been conveyed to Saudi authorities.
In a bid to protect the country’s domestic workers from such abuses, the government of Saudi Arabia has taken a move to make new laws or change the existing ones to ensure stern actions against the oppressive employers, said officials in Dhaka.
Saudi government has taken the move after Bangladesh government presented the reports of abuses of the woman migrant workers, they said.
The Saudi government was visibly ‘embarrassed’ after becoming privy to the violence against the domestic workers employed in their country.
A Bangladesh delegation led by state minister of Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment Imran Ahmad paid a four-day visit to Saudi Arabia, beginning on March 1.
The team met with Saudi deputy labour minister and Bangladeshi community in Riyadh and Jeddah.
On his return home, state minister Imran Ahmad told New Age that during the bilateral meeting, Saudi labour minister assured Bangladesh team that they were going to make new laws or change the existing ones to take action against the Saudi employers who would be responsible for oppressions on the domestic workers.
He said that there would be changes in the recruitment system for the domestic workers who would be entitled to get mobile phones and emergency numbers.
The woman workers will be allowed to change their profession and sponsors as and when deemed necessary, said a senior ministry official who accompanied the state minister during his Saudi visit.
The official also said that the Saudi authorities agreed to bring woman workers under medical insurance.
Saudi and Bangladesh also agreed that joint technical committees between the two countries would now sit every four months to resolve the pressing issues.
There has been a rise in the number of Bangladeshi woman workers returning from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia after being abused by their employers.
In February, at least 227 female workers came back, while the number of returnees was 182 in January, according to BRAC migration programme.
After visiting safe homes, the state minister said that the woman workers were desperate enough to run away from their employers. They took refuge at Bangladesh embassy to fly back home to escape violence at work.
Woman workers have consistently been raising complaints of abuse and physical tortures so that the authorities took the issues seriously, he said.
According to Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training, Saudi Arabia recruited over 2.40 lakh woman workers from Bangladesh since 2015.
On March 6, the Saudi Gazette reported that the Department of Public Prosecution and the Saudi Ministry of Labour and Social Development were considering the inclusion of violence against household drivers, maidservants, and elderly people in the law that ensures protection against abuse.
Some stringent provisions will be incorporated in the law to guarantee the rights of these people, the newspaper said, adding that there was also a plan to draft a special law to ensure protection and care of the elderly people, including parents.

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