Rights body forms task force to assist government in protecting and repatriating migrant workersSince the Covid-19 pandemic has hit major labour destination countries, stranded without jobs and basic facilities, Nepali workers are waiting for government help.
The National Human Rights Commission has formed a multi-stakeholder task force to work towards the cause of migrant workers during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The 17-member joint committee, formed on Tuesday, consists of representatives from the rights commission, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Labour Ministry, Department of Foreign Employment, Foreign Employment Board and non-government organisations working in the fields of foreign employment and migrants’ rights.
The task force, led by Sudeep Pathak, a member of the National Human Rights Commission, will facilitate the Nepal government in its efforts of dealing with problems faced by migrant workers, and their safer repatriation.
A meeting of the various agencies on Wednesday also decided to prepare a report on Nepali migrant workers’ situation on labour destination countries and government’s preparation so far for addressing their concerns and repatriating them.
“Officials and experts from various sectors agreed to send updates of their activities to the rights commission for an integrated information system,” said Pathak. “The task force will conduct a rapid study on migrants’ condition and assist the government agencies on ensuring workers’ safety during the pandemic, repatriation based on priority and drafting required policies, working procedures and standards among others.”
Various rights groups have been calling on the government to make immediate arrangements for safer repatriation of Nepali workers from Covid-19-hit countries where they have been living without food, accommodation, money and under the fear of virus infection.
Tens of thousands of Nepali workers are expected to return home from Gulf countries and Malaysia as soon as the international flights resume. The government has said that workers will be brought back based on their current situation, and priority will be given to the most affected ones.
During the discussion on Wednesday, Harishchandra Ghimire, joint secretary at the Foreign Ministry, said that the government was doing extensive preparation for collecting details of migrant workers, their condition, problems and coordinating with Nepali missions abroad for their immediate repatriation and authorities in Nepal about quarantine facilities once they return home.