Consultation on “Ratification of ILO Convention 189 for the Protection of  Women Domestic Worker”

To promote & protection of domestic workers rights and dignity, recognition of domestic workers as workers, WARBE Development Foundation, has organized a Consultation on “Ratification of ILO Convention 189 for the protection of Women Domestic Worker’’, on the occasion of International Domestic Workers Day at the VIP Lounge, National Press Club.

In the consultation Advocate Hosne Ara Lutfa Dalia, MP& Member of Parliamentarian Caucus on Migration and Development was the chief guest. Representatives from different NGOs working on Migrants’ rights, trade union, returnee migrant domestic workers, journalists were also presented on the consultation.Presiding over the consultation, Syed Saiful Haque, Chairman, WARBE Development Foundation said that there were few number of female migrant used to migrate abroad five year ago but now number of female migration increased sharply. Ms. Jasiya Khatoon, Director, WARBE Development Foundation, on her key speech shared the emergence of ILO Convention 189. She also said that government should not allow domestic workers abroad without ensuring safe workplaces, fair wages. Lawmaker and Member of parliamentarian caucus on migration and development, Hosne Ara Lutfa Dalai, MP spoke as chief guest and said that the government is trying to empower the country’ women by providing free education for girls till 12thclass. The government should not allow migration of domestic workers without ensuring their safe workplaces and fair wages at the destination countries, said rights campaigners and returnee workers. Female migrants who were employed as domestic workers were physical and mental tortures, sexual abuse, and denial of wages and overload of works abroad, they said. They urged the government of Bangladesh as well as the destination countries to ratify the convention 189 of International Labour Organization for protection of women domestic workers at home and abroad.

Syed Saiful Haque said that KSA recruited female workers from Bangladesh under a memorandum of understanding which was not internationally standard, so the workers were put in the slavery. As Philippines, Indonesia and Sri Lanka have stopped sending their women to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries because of various problems and abuses, so Arab recruiters become highly interested to hire Bangladeshi female workers, he said. Faruque Ahmed, Secretary General, WARBE Development Foundation, said that about 22 Bangladeshi female migrant workers were killed mercilessly or committed suicide while working abroad with a year. He said that Bangladeshi domestic workers were victims abroad and such incidents were tarnishing image of personally female workers as well as the country. Faruque, also a returnee migrant, demanded that Bangladesh government should not send more workers abroad without taking protection measures. He also called for realization of proper compensation of the victim female workers.

Sarowat Binte Islam, Program Manager, Manusher Jonno Foundation said that Bangladeshi female workers were resultant to go to work in Saudi Arabia fearing tortures and abuses from the media and they also showed little interest in the government registration. ‘But the brokers started recruiting them by alluring overseas jobs; she said. Calling the government to ratify the ILO convention 189, Sarowat said that the government should not send female workers abroad without ensuring safe workplace and fair wages abroad. Murshida Akter, General Secretary, National Domestic Women Workers’ Union said that no visible implementation of the domestic worker protection and welfare policy had been observed though the government approved the policy two years back. She said that formulation of a monitoring cell followed by the policy was remained futile so far.  Manju, a returnee migrant domesticworker from KSA, said that she had suffered physical tortures by her employer during her job in KSA lasted for two months. Another migrant Manika Begum said that she returned from Oman within four month of migration due to tortures by employers.