Nepal needs to formulate clear laws governing women migrants rights and well-being
Cristina Nicoleta Niculae
Nepal and Human Rights Researcher
Global Human Rights Defence
In a memorandum submitted to Gobinda Bandi, the Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, the Women’s Rehabilitation Center (WOREC) urged the government to formulate clear laws governing women migrants’ rights and well-being.
With the International Migration Review Forum (IMRF) 2022 set to take place between 17-20 May, Nepal would have to show before the United Nations (UN) whether progress was made on women’s rights. The purpose of 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 UN through a State-led approach.
WOREC Chairperson Renu Adhikari noted that Nepal government’s policies and programs concerning women migrants’ rights are based on a protectionist approach rather than human rights. The government has previously restricted women who aspire to go abroad for employment opportunities, which is in direct contravention with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Adhikari urged Minister Bandi to redress the government’s approach, national policies and laws related to women migrants rights.
WOREC submitted a 12-point memorandum before the Minister, which demands amending the 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, and ensuring adequate education and training related to the labor destination country for women. The demands also requested the safeguarding of women migrants’ wages, insurance and health facilities in destination countries.
Moreover, WOREC stressed the importance in changing laws that promote discrimination against women migrants, and ratifying International Labor Organization treaties such as C189 – Domestic Workers Convention 2011, Violence and Harassment Convention 2019, among other related documents.
Between July 2020 and July 2021, the Foreign Employment Board approved labor permits of 11,456 female migrant workers (4,557 skilled and 5717 unskilled). Some reports indicate that almost 90 per cent of Nepali women are compelled to work illegally in Malaysia and Middle East due to discriminatory restrictive provisions. WOREC Chairperson Adhikari contends that government restrictions on migrant women promotes discrimination and results in a curtailment of women’s fundamental right to work. WOREC further urged the government to facilitate and regulate women migration rather than impose restrictive measures.
Source and further reading:
Sanjeev Nepal. (May 12, 2022). Nepal needs to formulate clear laws governing women migrants rights and well-being. English Khabarhub. Retrieved May 31, 2022, from https://english.khabarhub.com/2022/12/251538/