PROTECTIONS BETTER BAN: HRW
KUWAIT CITY, Jan 28: The Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on the government of the Philippines to implement strict protection measures for its workers instead of putting a ban on their employment overseas, reports Al- Rai daily.
The HRW also said he must demand an end to the sponsorship (kafeel) system, which prevents workers from travelling or changing their jobs without the sponsor’s permission. “The Philippines government must also seek binding protection measures and improve cooperation with the governments of the Middle East through their embassies in the Philippines,” HRW said.
“The HRW said prevention measures adopted by countries such as Indonesia have not stopped attacks and abuses while the Indonesians continue to work abroad in illegal and unsafe situations which have exposed them to greater abuses that are difficult to deal with,” HRW said.
The Philippine Commission on Human Rights (an independent commission with wide powers) has declared its support for the decision to suspend the employment of Filipinos to Kuwait, saying that such a decision will enhance the possibility of adopting the necessary reforms to promote and respect the rights of Filipino workers.
“We support the efforts of the Philippine government to strengthen protection mechanisms and enhance the social welfare of our workers abroad, especially those most vulnerable to abuse and exploitation,” the commission said.
The Al-Anba daily said just days after he warned of total deployment ban of Overseas Filipino workers to Kuwait due to reports of abuse they suffer from their employers, President Rodrigo Duterte said he will ask China to open its doors for Filipino workers.
During a press conference upon his arrival from India, Duterte asked all nations hiring Filipino workers to treat them decently, not to destroy their dignity as human beings and let them sleep long enough. He added there are some complaints that they’re fed leftovers and therefore all these unbearable conditions led some to commit suicide. The number of Filipinos in Kuwait in 2016 was more than 240,000, mostly 98 percent of them women of which 165,000 were domestic workers, according to the Al-Qabas daily.
According to the Philippines Ambassador to Kuwait, the cases of abuse is between two and three percent for domestic workers. The rate of absconding Filipino domestic workers in Kuwait is the highest in the Gulf, between 300 and 350 cases of escape per month, and 10 to 15 cases of illegitimate birth every month.
The Filipino employment in Kuwait has been facing problems and has been a source of tension over years since 2003. In early April 2015, a comprehensive security campaign was launched targeting 105,000 residence law violators of them 8,000 were Filipinos. On May 10, 2016 a member of the Board of Directors of Kuwait Society for Human Rights attorney Mohammed Al-Otaibi said Filipino workers are among the most exposed to trafficking in human beings.
On May 12, 2016, the Philippines Ambassador to Kuwait estimated the number of cases of sexual harassment or rape of Filipinas in 2015 was about 300 cases of sexual harassment and about 80 cases of illegitimate birth. A security source revealed about 29,000 expatriates were deported in the first week of 2016 for various reasons including residence and labor laws violations and that 13 percent of them were Filipinos. A security source revealed the deportation administration had deported about 13,000 expatriates of different nationalities in the first week of 2017 at the beginning of June