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KSHR team discusses issue of Zimbabwean female workers

Kuwait Society for Human Rights’ delegation during their visit to the General Directorale of Residency.
Kuwait Society for Human Rights’ delegation during their visit to the General Directorale of Residency.

KUWAIT CITY, June 11: A delegation from Kuwait Society for Human Rights visited the headquarters of the General Directorate of Residency. They were received by Major General Talal Ibrahim Marafi – General Manager of Residency Affairs. During the visit, Major General Marafi welcomed the visiting delegation warmly and discussed many of the workers’ rights issues in Kuwait.

The most prominent one was the issue of the Zimbabwean female workers in Kuwait. Major General Marafi said that there are people who are interrogated to determine the circumstances of the case and deterrent measures will be taken to hold the offenders and bring them to justice to receive their just punishment.

He stressed that there is coordination with the Embassy of Zimbabwe in this case after treating the victims in a humane and decent way. They were placed in the Shelter for migrant workers. He said, ‘Some of them were deported voluntarily to their country by “Exit System” which is a new system in the ministry which allows the return of workers to Kuwait again if they desire so.’

According to Marafi, the Kuwaiti constitution emphasizes that people are equal in human dignity and equal before the law in public rights and duties. The constitution keens to preserve dignity of human and prevent employing them in works that degrade their dignity, whether by choice or coercion. He pointed out that the law contributes effectively and importantly to the fight against human trafficking. He said that Kuwait is considered a center for humanitarian work under the human leadership of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, may Allah protect him and is keen to take into account, through national laws; the fight against human trafficking, maintain the rights of domestic workers and provide them with a decent protection.

In the context of the Friday visit, Major General Talal Marafi pointed out that there are measures being taken to improve the conditions of workers, especially domestic workers. A break will be made under the supervision of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor to receive workers at arrival to Kuwait. During the break the target group will be educated on their rights besides many different procedures through which the Directorate seeks to protect the workers’ rights.

Major General Marafi expresses his cooperation with Kuwait Society for Human Rights and all civil society organizations and the removal of difficulties in front of them to contribute to the protection of human rights in the society. At that point, the society team indicated their full support for the measures that contribute to a decent life for the workers in Kuwait. The society stressed that it is currently implementing the project “Together” to educate migrant workers on their rights in Kuwait, which came to support these efforts towards contributing to the promotion of Kuwait’s reputation in the international forums in protecting workers’ rights.

And it will greatly help in finding a structure of knowledge among workers through raising awareness of their rights by using the languages they understand and providing legal consultation to them so as to contribute to the promotion of human rights in Kuwait. The society delegation conducted interviews with some of the Zimbabwean female victims and identified the violations they have been subjected to by residency dealers which represent a flagrant violation of charters and conventions, and human values.

The society team of Khaled Al Hamidi Al Ajmi – Chairman of the Directors Board, Fayez Al Sultani – Vice Chairman and Hussein Al Otaibi Secretary of the Society pointed out that during the meeting they asked the Director of the Domestic Labor Department Mohammed Al Ajmi about the sexual abuse, which appeared in different media means. Al Ajmi pointed out the invalidity of this claim and introduced the documents from the embassy of Zimbabwe “The society keeps a copy of them” which confirm that the pregnancy was prior the arrival to Kuwait as the migrant workers were originally married.

In the same context, Mohamed Al Ajmi called various media and civil society organizations to investigate the validity of such things that are basically offensive to the victim, and said: “The department door is open for all those who want transparently to find all the information and documents.” The Society team was also briefed on the statistics of number of domestic female workers who were deported with travel documents. And their number is 809 female workers during 2015 and reached 392 female workers in the period of January 1, 2016 until May 31, 2016.

During the visit, resident Syrians conditions were discussed as the society called for a special treatment for them as a result of the ongoing war in their country. About that, Major General Marafi confirmed the presence of 6000 “six thousand” Syrians who are violating the residency rules and there is a committee to discuss their situation.

The meeting with Major General Talal Ibrahim Marafi – General Manager of Residency Affairs was in the presence of Assistant General of Residency Affair; Brigadier General Abdullah Rashed Al Hajri, Director of the Domestic Labor Department; Mohammed Hamad Al Ajmi and Lieutenant Colonel Issa Ziadi. The society team offered their thanks and appreciation to Major General Marafi and the ministry team for their hospitality, reception and cooperation that stem from their belief in human rights in Kuwait.

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