India to attend UAE labour meet on workers security, protection

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Dubai, Jan 20 (UNI) India will attend a three-day meeting related to labour issues beginning in Abu Dhabi today, a step seen to provide more security and protection to the migrant workers.

India is among the 22 countries which would make recommendations on improving the market for temporary contractual labour, and would be represented by India's Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs, Vayalar Ravi.

The three-day meeting organised with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) includes the 10 Asian labour-exporting countries that meet under what is known as the Colombo Process to discuss their contract migrant workers.

The meeting titled 'The Ministerial Consultations on Overseas Employment and Contractual Labour for Countries of Origin in Asia: The Abu Dhabi Dialogue' will be attended by the Labour ministers and senior officials from the participant countries.

''The Abu Dhabi Dialogue will discuss the entire cycle of temporary contractual labour, beginning and ending with national and human development,'' Labour Minister, Dr Ali Abdullah Al Ka'abi, said.

The meeting holds importance in the backdrop of exploitation faced by the migrant workers in Gulf. It is the first time that a labour-receiving country hosts the meeting which will bring together fellow Gulf Arab labour importers as well as Yemen, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea.

US based NGO Human Rights Watch urged officials to establish equal protection for domestic workers under labour laws and reform of the sponsorship system that makes it difficult for workers to change jobs or leave the country without consent. It also urged countries of origin to monitor recruitment agencies and labour-receiving states to give migrants access to justice.

''It is encouraging that representatives from countries' that send and receive migrant workers will sit at the same table,'' said Nisha Varia, senior researcher for the women's rights division of Human Rights Watch.

''Greater cooperation is essential on a number of fronts, including creating mutually respected employment contracts and mechanisms to enforce them,'' she added.

The labour-sending countries attending the Colombo Process include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam. The countries of destination include Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain and Yemen, as well as Japan, Malaysia, South Korea and Singapore.

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