Kuwait and Philippines move towards ending frictions with workers protection deal

Kuwait and Philippines move towards ending frictions with workers protection deal
Kuwait and the Philippines have edged closer to signing a workers protection agreement for Filipino nationals.
2 min read
05 February, 2020
Domestic workers are often mistreated in Kuwait [Getty]

The Philippines and Kuwait are moving closer establishing standard employment contracts to ensure Filipino domestic workers are protected by law, officials announced on Tuesday.

After joint discussions that were held over the weekend, both Kuwait and Manila said on Tuesday they are reaching closer to an official agreement will protect domestic workers in Kuwait, who are often subjected to abuse from their employers.

The meeting comes weeks after the Philippines reinstated a ban on workers entering Kuwait after cases of vile mistreatment of Filipino workers by their Kuwaiti employers.

Kuwait's assistant foreign minister for consular affairs Sami Al-Hamad said proper procedures were in place for the recruitment of domestic labour, adding "both sides agreed to cooperate and ensure that the rights of Kuwait's Filipino diaspora are protected".

The Philippines mid-January reimposed a ban on its citizens going to work in Kuwait after a Filipina maid was allegedly killed by her employer, echoing a 2018 row between the two countries.

Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte approved the ban as his government accused the emirate of covering up the gruesome killing of a maid, one of about 240,000 Filipinos working in the Gulf state.

Millions of Filipino citizens go to work abroad, seeking salaries they cannot get at home.

The money they send back accounts for about 10 percent of the Philippine economy.

Kuwait is not the only Gulf state to face allegations of routine sexual abuse against domestic workers.

Bangladesh in November shuttered more than 150 recruiting agencies hiring people to work in Saudi Arabia after a string of returnees alleged facing sexual abuse, torture and even sexual slavery in the kingdom.

Similar abuse has also been reported in the UAE, which Human Rights Watch slammed in 2014 for its rampant abuse of domestic workers.

There are around 750,000 domestic workers in the UAE, making up nearly 20 percent of the expatriate workforce, according to official statistics.

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