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UN body urges South Asia, Gulf to cooperate on women migration

25 March 2013 - Himalayan Times. UN Women has urged South Asian and Gulf countries to work together in safeguarding women migrant workers in the Gulf region. South Asian and Gulf governments‚ private sector‚ and international and civil society organisations should work together for the safety of women migrant workers‚ said a release by UN Women on Regional Consultation on Safe Mobility of Women Migrants in New Delhi‚ India‚ last week.

UN Women has urged South Asian and Gulf countries to work together in safeguarding women migrant workers in the Gulf region. South Asian and Gulf governments‚ private sector‚ and international and civil society organisations should work together for the safety of women migrant workers‚ said a release by UN Women on Regional Consultation on Safe Mobility of Women Migrants in New Delhi‚ India‚ last week. 

An increasing number of women from South Asia are migrating in search of better livelihood opportunities to support their families. A large number of them are employed in vulnerable jobs‚ such as nurses‚ domestic helps‚ etc.

In 2010‚ about 6.45 million international female migrants were from South Asia‚ with the highest number from Nepal (68.2 per cent)‚ followed by Sri Lanka and India at 49.8 per cent and 48.7 per cent‚ respectively.

Taking a serious view of the rising incidents of discrimi

nation and exploitation of women migrants‚ an inter-governmental body‚ which met in Colombo recently‚ has called for stronger South Asian co-operation to support women migrants. It also called for an integrated response to cases of violence against women during migration — from departure‚ transit to return.

UN Women has asked for better cooperation from receiving countries from the Gulf region for better data to document and acknowledge the contributions of women migrant workers‚ as well as better support services.

“In the last few years‚ the migration trend shows that women are becoming economic actors rather than dependent migrants. However‚ women often tolerate abusive working conditions to write-off the debt they may have incurred during migration‚” said deputy representative of UN Women’s Office for Bhutan‚ India‚ Maldives and Sri Lanka Sushma Kapoor.

About 244‚000 Nepali women are believed to be working in foreign countries and 80 per cent of them are in the Gulf — Qatar‚ Saudi Arabia‚ UAE‚ Kuwait‚ Bahrain and Oman. However‚ number of women migrant workers recorded is just 65‚000‚ according to Department of Foreign Employment. 

Illegal or undocumented migration to Gulf countries has been creating problems for Nepali women. According to UN Women-Nepal‚ about 2‚822 Nepali women were rescued from their workplaces in the 18 months till June 2012‚ after they complained of extreme physical and mental torture including sexual exploitation. About 25 unmarried girls working as housemaids had returned home with a child in the period.

Source: http://www.thehimalayantimes.com/fullNews.php?headline=UN+body+urges+South+Asia%E2%80%9A+Gulf++to+cooperate+on+women+migration+&NewsID=370398&a=3

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