GHAZANFAR ALI KHAN | Arab News Staff
Friday 7 September 2012
Last Update 7 September 2012 6:58 am
RIYADH: Nepalese Ambassador Udaya Raj Pandey has expressed concern over the fate of 212 Nepalese workers imprisoned in jails across the Kingdom, many for several years. Another 500 workers, including domestic aides, are being held in deportation centers while waiting to be sent back home.
Pandey said: “The pathetic conditions of the Kingdom’s deportation centers contributed to the death of five Nepalese workers in the last year, one of whom committed suicide. Nepalese workers who leave home in search of jobs face many problems.”
The ambassador has requested an amnesty period for Nepalese workers. "This will help me to correct the status of the workers and send all illegals back home in one go," he said. He noted the Riyadh-based Nepalese mission managed to repatriate 325 maids since he took office 13 months ago.
Many of the maids took shelter in the embassy for reasons such as sexual harassment, unfair treatment, poor food, cultural differences, extreme living and climatic conditions. Many of them are traumatized and physically weak, said the ambassador.
As many as 284 migrant workers are in police custody on criminal charges according to a report that cites the Nepalese missions in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE. In addition, an estimated 900 migrant workers are languishing in detention centers in these three countries, where more than 1.5 million Nepalese currently work. These figures were also sent to the Nepal's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) by the three missions.
The report cited that 212 migrant workers have been jailed in Saudi Arabia, 45 in the UAE and 27 in Qatar, with the number fluctuating every day. They further report that a large number of workers are currently awaiting deportation in Saudi Arabia. An estimated 40 to 80 workers are sent to detention centers, otherwise known as deportation centers, in the three countries every day.
Referring to the problems faced by Nepalese workers, the report said that many workers often get entangled in crime due to unfamiliarity with the law, customs and traditions of the destination countries. A proper pre-departure orientation will greatly help the workers, said the report, adding that an estimation of the number of Nepalese prisoners and deportees is tough as they “keep coming and going every day.”
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