The government is arranging o deport over 500 Ugandan migrant workers stranded in the Arabian countries of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Oman, and others.
Betty Among Akena, the Minister of Labour says the government is in the final stages to deport the migrant workers who have complained of rampant torture and inhumane treatment by their employers.
Mrs. Among says some of the migrant workers have approached the Ugandan Embassies for rescue. Several of them have shared video or audio clips with their families illustrating their ordeals.
The affected workers include those who were lawfully externalized as domestic workers by the Government through the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development and those trafficked by the different private recruitment organizations.
In the UAE capital, Dubai, the Ugandan immigration center has already recorded complaints from 200 domestic workers, and 300 others in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia whose employers reportedly confiscated their passports to deny them avenues to return home. It is not clear when Government will finish the assessment of the workers for repatriation.
According to section 66 of the Employment Act, the Recruitment of Ugandan Migrant Workers Abroad Regulations 2005, and 2015, a migrant worker is licensed for two years, but Among pointed out that the employers violate the provision by denying some of the worker’s exit visas.
The Government’s preparations come at the back of several petitions to Parliament from the concerned families through their representatives to push the Government to repatriate their relatives who are being mistreated by their employers thus risking their lives.
In July 2022, the Speaker of Parliament Anita Among directed the Committee on Gender, Labour and Social Development led by Flavia Rwabuhoro Kabahenda, also the Kegegwa District Woman Member of Parliament to fast-track the welfare of the migrant workers and recommend appropriate intervention for the Government.
Speaking to URN during an interview on Monday, Kabahenda disclosed that the Committee gets numerous daily distress calls from the affected families seeking expeditious repatriation of their loved ones trapped by lack of travel documents.
Annually, statistics from the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development indicate that at least 28,000 Ugandans seek household jobs in the Middle East due to poverty, unemployment, domestic violence, and family breakdown among others.
According to the Uganda Human Rights Commission – UHRC, 2021 report 28 Ugandan migrant workers, the majority of whom are women, died in the different Middle East destination countries where they were serving as domestic workers.
On Friday last week, religious leaders of different faiths held a national prayer service at Kololo Independence Grounds in Kampala and asked the Government to address the vulnerabilities of Ugandans to stop the migration of workers seeking greener pastures overseas.
Several outcries of several migrants were seen on social media video clips of Ugandans crying for rescue. The government has been criticized for not caring about their citizen cry.
In the last few days, the shadow minister of foreign affairs Hon Muwadda Nkunyinji traveled to UAE and recorded some video clips with girls sleeping on the streets. This has added some pressure to see that there is development in deporting the stranded migrants.
Countries like Kenya and Nigeria made strict agreements with the UAE governments which give some protection to their people. And when some terrible situation happens they always hurry to make rescue their citizens.