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Protect rights of workers appeal.

Byline: SOMAN BABY

GULF governments and labour exporting countries were urged yesterday to step up protection of workers against illegal or unfair recruitment practices.

The forum also urged the governments to ensure that recruitment agencies in the countries of origin and destination were held accountable under national laws and regulations.

The Gulf Forum on Temporary Contractual Labour was organised by the UAE Labour Ministry in co-operation with the GCC Labour and Social Affairs Ministers' Council.

The forum, attended by GCC labour ministers, took note of the discussions and constructive and transparent talks of the Abu Dhabi Dialogue, which was held on Monday and Tuesday.

It also acknowledged the significance of the Abu Dhabi Declaration of Asian Countries of Origin and Destination.

The forum acknowledged the sovereign right of states to develop their own labour and migration policies and recognised the need to adopt coherent and comprehensive policies to effectively manage temporary contractual labour and protect workers.

Furthermore, it was recognised that special attention should be given to the critical issues faced by foreign workers, and extending protection to all workers in all phases of the employment cycle.

The forum underlined the importance of collaboration amongst various stakeholders in both countries of origin and destination, and the significance of engaging in international co-operation.

It concluded with the following recommendations:

Ensure that policies and regulations pertaining to temporary contractual workers take into consideration the particularities of the Gulf region and the national interest of the GCC states.

Support research activities with respect to the movement of contractual workers and its impact on countries of origin and destination alike.

Ensure equitable and transparent legal and regulatory instruments covering all workers.

Provide induction and counselling programmes to contractual workers in countries of origin that offer guidelines about the countries of destination, including language, cultural and legal aspects.

Ensure that recruitment agencies in both countries of origin and destination are held accountable under national laws and regulations.

Recruitment agencies in both sending and receiving countries be invited to the Manila Meeting in October 2008.

Ensure that the workers are protected against illegal or unfair recruitment practices and make sure that they make informed decisions when engaging in the offered employment.

Uphold the protection of workers under the national laws of countries of destination during the period of temporary residence, including the areas of health and safety, accommodation, decent work environment and protection of wages, as informed by relevant international labour standards.

Consider means to allow for a successful reintegration of the workers in their countries of origin at the end of the employment cycle.

Facilitate the engagement of civil society organisations in countries of destination in addressing and providing solutions to labour related challenges.

The declaration, which was adopted by ministers from 20 countries of origin and destination (Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Kuwait, Malaysia, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, the Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam and Yemen) recognised that properly managed temporary contractual mobility will benefit both countries of origin and destination and improve the well-being of temporary contractual workers.

Bahrain's delegation to both meetings was led by Labour Minister Dr Majeed Al Alawi.

soman@batelco.com.bh

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:May 1, 2008
Words:544
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