A spontaneous platform of concerned citizens has staged a protest against the oppression of women domestic workers in various Middle East countries including Saudi Arabia.
The march by social, cultural, political organizations, and activists began from the Central Shaheed Minar in Dhaka around 10:30am on Tuesday, followed by speeches by several women's rights workers and activists, read a press release.
The procession marched towards Ministry of Expatriate Welfare & Overseas Employment through TSC, Shahbag, and ended at the Hotel InterContinental intersection. Later, a delegation of 5 people issued a memorandum containing a 13-point demand to the aforementioned ministry.
Their demands include:
# Expatriate workers will not be sent from Bangladesh to countries that do not or will not follow the international declaration; memorandum of understanding and agreement on all sorts of dispatch of existing migrant workers with those countries must be terminated.
# Middle Eastern states where women migrant workers have been dispatched and tortured, immediate steps have to be taken to execute and implement bilateral agreements between the Government of Bangladesh and the concerned state to prevent physical, mental and sexual abuse of women migrant workers.
#A General Help Desk Lounge has to be launched to immediately transmit andor update information for the migrant worker's family, including physical and mental health examination information of the female worker, and disclosure of female worker's employer's name, and work address.
# Disciplinary action has to be taken including license revocation against those recruitment agents of Bangladesh who have sent women to the Middle East with false assurances.
# Effective monitoring and supervision along with the responsibility of the officers and employees of Bangladesh Embassy and Consulate operating in the Middle East should be developed to ensure the protection of the interests of the migrant workers.
# To ensure workplace safety of migrant workers, embassies and consulate officials and ministries concerned have to be engaged in high-powered committee comprising senior officers trained abroad. To protect migrant workers' rights, human dignity and internationally declared standard current workplace inspections, joint meetings between employers and migrant workers to be implemented.
# Immediate rescue, accommodation, food, and legal assistance should be provided through Bangladeshi embassies and consulates if migrant workers suffer any adverse situation.
# Bilateral agreements must be made to create opportunities for the oppressed and affected migrant workers to proceed their case easily under the laws of the country concerned and to conduct litigation proceedings from their respective countries, rather than in the country concerned.
# Public opinion to be raised at international level to take disciplinary action against the employers responsible for the torture and death of migrant workers until there is a bilateral agreement to take legal action against abusive employers in order to guarantee dignified employment.
# The government has to send women migrant workers through direct government initiative.
# Effective return and reunification legislation policy must be formulated and implemented to ensure financial, social and family reunification of women migrant workers who have returned to Bangladesh.
# Families of women workers who have died of torture, or forced to commit suicide, and those who have come back to Bangladesh have to be compensated Tk2 crore.
# The officials and employees of the ministry concerned, including the embassy who did not take necessary action despite being concerned about the physical, mental and sexual abuse of women workers, rather defending the abuser by providing misleading statements, must be brought to trial.