Migrante urges PNoy to discuss OFW protection with Kuwait emir

March 26, 2012 11:53 am 

MANILA, March 25 — A migrant workers’ rights group has urged President Benigno S. Aquino III to discuss the protection of overseas Filipino workers with visiting Kuwait emir Shiekh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah.

“We hope that Pres. Aquino III will grab this opportunity to discuss with his counterpart, the visiting Emir of Kuwait, to table and give priority discussing how to provide protection to our Filipino workers in Kuwait amid the rampant cases of abuse and labor malpractices especially among Filipino domestic workers,”said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante Middle East coordinator.

Monterona noted that Kuwait, aside from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, is among the countries in the Middle East with records of rampant abuses and malpractices committed against Asian workers.

Monterona added that Aquino must also bring up the issue on the ratification of the International Labor Organization Convention on Domestic Workers.

The ILO passed binding principles and mechanisms that recognize domestic workers' rights and provide them the needed protection while working overseas.

”The ratification of the ILO Convention on Domestic Workers serves as a “‘litmus’ test to sending government like the Philippines and migrant-host governments in the Middle East as there are millions of foreign domestic workers in the mid-east,” Monterona said.

He cited, for instance, most of the Gulf Cooperating Council (GCC) member-countries have reservations in recognizing domestic workers’ inalienable rights as a worker and a human being citing ‘customary practices and traditions’.

“Kuwait for example opposes the granting of day-off and the internationally recognized 8-hour work of domestic workers,” Monterona added.

Monterona said the rights of domestic workers should not be viewed as a ‘threat to host-countries tradition and customary laws.”

“This could be harmonized by passing local laws that guarantee domestic workers' rights while respecting the habits and traditions of the host country,” he said.

Records from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration show there are around 400,000 OFWs in Kuwait, most of them domestic workers. (PNA) RSV /JMC/rsm

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