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Protecting migrant workers in Kuwait: a Resident Coordinator’s blog

UN News, Kuwait, 3 July 2020 - The increase in xenophobic language directed towards migrants – who make up more than 70 per cent of the population of Kuwait – prompted a group of jurists, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), and the Office of the Resident Coordinator, to launch a media campaign designed to help the authorities counter the problem, which they are beginning to see as a potential threat to a peaceful and stable society; we welcomed the Emir of Kuwait’s televised speech on the subject, in which he emphasized the need to heal divisions, and address misinformation.

This is one example of the role that the UN is playing in Kuwait, to address the consequences of the pandemic. Our response can be divided into four main areas. Firstly, we are helping to prepare the economy and society (for example, by strengthening supply chains, countering economic shocks and supporting small and medium-sized enterprises). Secondly, we are working to protect vulnerable groups, including migrant workers. Thirdly, we are creating educational content, via different media, and lastly, we are addressing developmental and health issues.

Unemployment and deportations

One of the big economic issues we are dealing with is unemployment. The vast majority of the migrant workers who travel to Kuwait have very limited means and, since the pandemic, many of them have found themselves without work.
Large sums of money have been collected to help migrant workers, a sign of the generosity of many Kuwaitis, who have also donated food to help those affected by the downturn. Various UN bodies, such as the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and International Labour Organisation (ILO) have been cooperating with the Kuwaiti authorities to find ways to cope with this crisis.

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Source: https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/07/1067652

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