Stranded migrant workers in Gulf States need safe and dignified return – UN rights panel


The UN Committee on Migrant Workers raised the alarm on the inhumane conditions faced by migrant workers housed inside detention facilities in the Gulf countries, citing reports of ill-treatment and torture “every single day in detention camps”.

The panel of independent rights experts said on Thursday governments should immediately address the ill-treatment and torture of migrant workers who are also being blamed for spreading the coronavirus.

The panel singled out the detention facilities in Saudi Arabia and Yemen, and in North African countries, including Libya.

“Migrants, mostly from African and South Asian countries, are regularly scapegoated for the spread of the coronavirus”, the panel said in a statement.

It also highlighted allegations that inmates do not receive medical treatment and that “some are even left to die”.

The panel further described as “shocking” video footage published last month showing thousands of African migrant workers locked in cramped and unhygienic camps in Saudi Arabia, with raw sewage spilling across the floor.

As the devastating health and economic effects of on-going COVID-19 pandemic continue, the rights committee explained that migrant workers were more at risk than ever.

They “have no access to clean water, sanity and health care (and are) far more vulnerable than local residents”, the Committee said, in a call for the international community to take action.

The independent experts also called on authorities to ensure that those being held can have an orderly, safe and dignified return to their home countries.

Amid the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, the Committee stressed: “It is more important than ever that human rights violations perpetrated against migrants must immediately stop.”

It also underlined the Joint Guidance Note on the Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Human Rights of Migrants.

“We urge the Governments of host and transit countries to strictly protect the human rights of all migrants and to cooperate without delay with the countries of origin to ensure an orderly, safe and dignified return of stranded migrants into their home countries.”

The committee monitors States parties’ adherence to the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.

It’s made up of 14 members who are independent human rights experts drawn from around the world, who serve in their personal capacity.

The Committee’s concluding observations are an independent assessment of States’ compliance with their human rights obligations, under the treaty. (Source: UN News)