Horn of Africa region wants labour reforms in Gulf countries
A lobby of workers in the Horn of Africa region are calling on other Gulf counties to start labour reforms similar to those in Qatar as a long-term policy to protect labourers.
In the wake of reported abuse of domestic workers in the Gulf nations, the Horn of Africa Confederation of Trade Unions (HACTU) said on Friday there was a need for progressive reforms that will ensure workers from the Horn of Africa are protected wherever they work in the Gulf.
The lobby, an association of labour movements in eight countries that form the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), wrote to Qatar, asking that it shares its experience on reforms with peers in the neighbourhood to speed up labour rights reform.
They wrote to Qatari Minister for Labour, Dr Ali bin Samikh al-Marri to “help facilitate the protection of the rights of migrant workers from the eight Horn of Africa countries namely Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Djibouti, Eritrea and Uganda through bilateral and multilateral relations with other Gulf countries. “
The joint call says Qatar’s recent adjustments to migrant labour policies have been “progressive” and that it should be emulated by neighbours “in the Gulf region and the Arab World at large which receive hundreds of thousands of migrant workers from Africa and Horn of Africa Countries in particular.”
The HACTU is accredited to IGAD as an observer but the meeting came on
the backdrop of reported abuse cases by Horn of Africa labourers in Gulf
countries like Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.