It takes at least six months to bring home bodies of Bangladeshi migrant workers who died in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia while bringing bodies of Bangladeshi workers from other countries take much less time.
The long time taken to bring bodies from the KSA increased agony of the migrants’ families at home. Wage Earners Welfare Board officials said it takes hardly one week to bring home bodies of workers from Malaysia, Singapore and Qatar.
Saudi Arabia’s lengthy repatriation process causes the delay in bringing ‘bodies of our workers from the KSA,’ they said.WEWB bears the responsibility of repatriation of bodies of the country’s migrant workers, they said.
Dulal Mia of Gilabad, Motbaria, Pirojpur died on July 4 while working in the KSA but it has not been possible to bring him his body until now, his family members as well as the WEWB officials said.
His younger brother’s wife Farzana said that the family has been anxiously waiting for the last five months to get back his body for burial. His younger brother Nazrul Islam visited the government offices in the capital several times with desperate requests for expeditious repatriation of Dulal’s body, she said.
She said that the needy family spent a lot of money in vain hope of getting back Dulal’s body. WEWB officials said that Dulal’s body has since been kept in the mortuary of Zizan Hospital in the Saudi city of Zizan.
They said that moved by repeated requests from Dulal’s relatives they sent three letters to the Bangladesh Consulate General in Jeddah to expedite the repatriation of his body. Farzana said that ‘extreme disappointment gripped us’ over the delay in repatriation of the body.’
Abu Bakar of Shatra, Manoharganj, Comilla died of heart attack while working in the KSA on September 30 and his family members said that they too were waiting to get back his body for burial.
His cousin Hasib said that the family’s wait seemed to be unending though all the documents needed were sent to Bangladesh Embassy in the KSA. WEWB officials said that it takes too long to repatriate migrant workers’ bodies as it requires clearance from 12 departments in the KSA.
Dhaka University professor and Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit founding chair Tasneem Siddiqui opined that the delay in repatriating bodies of workers multiplies social costs for their families.
Bangladesh should, she demanded, raise the issue at Colombo Process, Bali Process and Abu Dhabi Dialogue for a solution.
WARBE Development Foundation chairman Syed Saiful Haque said that vital issues including repatriation of the bodies of migrant workers must be incorporated at the bilateral agreements or Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two countries to ensure rights and services to migrant workers.
Bangladesh labour wing officials posted at the destination countries must strengthen their monitoring activities to render welfare services to the migrants and their family members left behind home, said Saiful who is a returned migrant of Bangladesh .