Migration experts from home and abroad called upon the government of Bangladesh to immediately ratify the International Labour Organization Convention 189 that promises decent work for the domestic workers.
Celebrating the International Domestic Workers Day, they said that large number of Bangladeshi domestic workers who were employed at home and abroad would be benefitted if Bangladesh government ratifies and enforce the ILO Convention.
Global migration expert and Hague based Bangladeshi diaspora forum BASUG' chairman Bikash Chowdhury Barua said that Bangladeshi women domestic workers in the Middle Eastern countries were being regularly abused in all forms including physical, mental and sexual by their masters and members of their masters’ families.
Despite all the horrific news of torture and exploitation, he said that thousands of women were going to the Middle East with a hope to change their lives. ‘This scenario is of no different in case of Bangladeshi domestic women workers in the Middle East whose number is around 500.000.’
On the International Domestic Workers Day he said that ‘We demand that the ILO Convention 189, adopted on 16 June 2011 which speaks for decent work for domestic workers is ratified by all countries as the Convention and Recommendation are founded on the basis that the domestic workers are neither “servants”, nor “members of the family” nor second-class workers.’
Bikash Chowdhury Barua said that these standards provided the basis for improving the working and living conditions of tens of millions of domestic workers mainly the women.
Expressing his regret he said that ‘Unfortunately, ILO Convention is ratified by only handful countries. Some ME countries have made some changes in their laws to ensure safety and decent work to their domestic workers, but in reality those are not being followed.’
The BASUG chairman said Bangladesh government has the responsibilities to ensure the safety of its domestic workers abroad.
‘Bangladesh missions in ME unfortunately have failed to address the issue. Domestic workers who are supporting Bangladesh develop her economy by sending remittance deserve a better treatment from their government.’
In a message, WARBE Development Foundation director Jasiya Khatoon expressed solidarity with millions of migrant domestic workers on occasion of the International Domestic Workers Day.
She said that ‘We always demand ratification of ILO Convention 189 as it could enhance the bargaining capacity for the Bangladeshi domestic workers.’
She also said that ‘We are calling upon the government to ensure that migrant domestic workers get their job contact papers mush before their departure.’
In Dhaka, a group of politicians, labour leaders and migrant rights activists celebrated International Domestic Workers Day and they urged the government to allocate adequate budget for welfare of the domestic workers and working class people.
National Domestic Women Workers Union general secretary Musrheda Akter Nahar said that female workers were often victims of gender based violence in the workplace.
She demanded enactment of law to remove gender based violence from the society.
Bangladesh Workers Party president Rashed Khan Menon urged the government to allocate adequate budget for improvement of livelihood of the country’s poor and marginalized people.
Trade union leader Abul Hossain said that the government adopted the Domestic Workers Protection and Welfare Policy in 2015 and it was not implanted till now.
He urged the government to formulate labour law including the country’s domestic workers and other workers engaged in the informal sectors.