Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Police public partnership

On 26 May 2014, I attended an interaction program on community policing with the senior police officers at national police academy. Community policing is based on the philosophy of cooperation and partnership. The community's interest with the police is safety and security from crimes and violence. The police's interest is to solve criminal problems in the society. The police cannot do this job all alone. They have to seek cooperation from community members. For this purpose, they seek help from community members. In a way, they work in partnership with community for a desired goal. The police may use two tactics in this process: establish permanent units in the community or work with community as and when required. In other words, they work in partnership with community to solve a specific security or crime problem and when it is achieved, they withdraw.
There are some myths associated with community policing. These are:
-community policing solves all problems
-community policing is different police from regular police force
-community policing is soft policing or lenient to crime and criminals
No! Unfortunately all above myths are not true. Community policing is only strategy of police force to solve specific crime or law and order problems.
Who funds this program? As this is a police duty to protect community from crime and violence, it becomes the duty of government to fund the activities of all community police.
Who owns this program? The community, the whole police force and government must own this policing style. It should be mentioned in the law and policies of the government and police in particular.
What could be best way to foster such policing style? The recruitment of local people for policing in their localities will be the best way to enhance this strategy. In other words, the police should be made accountable to local communities or local bodies, like, v.d.c. and municipality.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Protection of migrant workers

Protection of migrants workers’ rights
A -country of origin
-legislation and policy
-migration process
-cost policy
-orientation on condition, culture, and other useful information about destination country
-risks and precautions to be taken
-protection from cheating by manpower companies
-give them training for required level of skills
-orientation about the TOR with the employers at destination country; the tor must be in simple language so that the migrant workers understand it
-MOU with destination country on ILO based standard
-supervise and punish recruiting agencies-they must be license holders
-help prospective migrants get job and protect them from fraudulent acts of recruiting agencies
-help returnees use their earnings
-coordination among the govt agencies
B -country of transit
-it is said that some agencies prepare visa at Doha airport
-help migrants in case of disasters
-help them if stranded
C -country of destination
-good working conditions
-decent works
-good salary and perks
-employment security
-freedom to association and collective bargaining
-discourage forced labor
-access to communication means
-right to possess documents
-safety and security measures at works
-informed decisions
-monitoring and reporting
-consulate office at destination must help find them jobs
-protect them from cheating
-take actions as needed to protect migrants’ rights
D -country of origin on return
-help migrants get compensation, if any
-help them use the earnings in a profitable business
Problems in migration
-man power companies not regulated properly
-open border with India
-no information about the nature of work and the destination country given to prospective migrant workers
-no training for required skill provided to migrants
-lot of corruption involved at all levels—syndicate working on ‘setting’
-no diplomatic MOU with the destination countries with Nepal
-migration process complicated
-expensive legal process
-female workers banned for some countries-this policy has actually siphoned women migrants towards Iand helpless due to illegal status at destinations.
What needs to be done?
-India is not in the purview of labor law. India is a big market for Nepali workers.
-the workers’ death toll is alarming in some destination countries. Has there been study on these? If no, then there should be study conducted.
-Nepali women suffering in gulf countries-2010-11
2820 rescued
415 mentally unstable
86 pregnant
82 suicides
111 in jails
32 returned with children
31 disappeared
-many migrant labors are languishing in destination countries. Do we have some mechanism to monitor and help them?
-many Bangladeshi going on Nepali passport—they find difficulty in getting passports in their country
-it is said that all Nepali papers are made in New Delhi, India
-punish recruiting agencies for their fraudulent acts
-migrant worker do not complain of trafficking
-establish labor court office in districts
-repatriated labors do not contact offices
-cheating in the name of education consultancy
-victims of fraudulent do not possess proper papers to initiate criminal case—payments to recruiting agencies must be done through banks
-they go to gang for that purpose
-political party pressure at local village level for passports
-guidelines must be developed to help workers at origin, transit and destinations

Thursday, May 15, 2014

How safe is labour migration?

29 Mar 2013 (16 Chaitra 2070)
'Labour Migration: How Safe It Is'
The Centre for Security and Justice Studies (CSJS) organized a discussion 'Labour Migration: How Safe It Is' on 29 Mar 2013. The participants in the discussion were police officers, representatives from Manpower Company, victims and NGO and independent experts.
Needless to say, labour migration is a source of income for Nepali citizens. Nepali migrants are in around 109 countries. It is estimated that the number of migrants with government permission exceeds 2.6 million; and it is ever increasing. The destination countries of Nepali among others are: Malaysia, Qatar, Saudi Arab, UAE, Kuwait, Baharain, South Korea, etc. The total amount of money received by Nepali as remittance is estimated around Rupee 359 billion.

The situation of migrant workers and their families has become a critical contemporary human rights issue worldwide, particularly in relation to exploitation by traffickers, smugglers of human being, unscrupulous recruitment agents and employers, and associated corrupt practices; deaths and injury in transit; discrimination and xenophobia; various forms of exploitation including sexual abuse; subjection to forced labour, slavery, practices akin to slavery; and dire working conditions; and inhumane treatment in cases of arrest, detention and deportation. Nepal could not be an exception; and is not so. The plight of Nepali migrants—especially women migrants—is immense. They are smuggled, trafficked, exploited and murdered in various destinations. The chart below shows the current picture of Nepali women in some destination countries:

Nepali women in jails (Kuwait, Saudi Arab, Oman, Lebanon only)
Mentally sick(Kuwait, Saudi Arab, Lebanon only)
Rescued women workers from gulf countries
Women returned with pregnancy
Women returned with children
Suicide committed by women workers
Missing women workers
Source: A study conducted with the support of UN Women, 2011

The figures are significant but are part of the whole scenario; not all cases are reported. The discussion recommended that the government and other actors work in the following issues to improve the situation of exploitation of migrant workers:

1.      Regulate local manpower companies and their agents against cheating
  1. Control fake passport at origin country
  2. Education, training, awareness on the process, jobs, information on culture and system at destination country
  3. Inter-state MOU on exchange of migrant workers
  4. Monitor and collect information through government/embassy, recruiting agencies and other non government organizations
  5. Case filing and investigation at destination and country of origin
  6. Rescue and repatriation of migrant workers on need basis
8.      Monitor the human rights situation of the migrant workers in destination countries and develop strategy for the development and strengthening of remedies to address human rights violations committed against migrant workers, including undocumented and irregular migrant workers
9.      India is not within the purview of migration law. The sufferings of migrant workers in India are not in the records. There is urgent need to monitor the situation of workers in India also.
10.  Establish bilateral or multi-lateral frameworks of cooperation for the promotion and protection of the rights of the migrant workers through mutual cooperation, exchange of information and making of joint action, where appropriate, to address issues of mutual concern that require an internationally coordinated response,
11.  Development of training modules and materials related to the human rights of the migrant workers for developing capacity of the government agencies, NGOs and organizations working in the area of rights of the migrant workers
12.  Improve investigation of organized crimes in the garb of labour migration
13.  Undertake advocacy and public awareness for introduction, reformation and effective implementation of law, policies and plan of actions for the rights of the migrant workers
14.  Organize a separate discussion focusing on the police investigation of organized crimes in the garb of foreign employment

April 5, 2013 (23 Chaitra 2069)
'Investigation of trafficking cases in the garb of migration'
The Centre for Security and Justice Studies (CSJS) conducted a meeting on 'Investigation of trafficking cases in the garb of migration' on April 5, 2013 at Nepal Police Central Investigation Bureau (CIB). The participants were police officers, representatives from NGO and Nepal Foreign Employment Association (NFEA), officer from Foreign Employment Division, Nepal Government and independent experts. Dr. Govind Prasad Thapa opened the session with remarks on the problems of the victims of cheating and exploitation at various levels and destinations. Dr. Ganesh Gurung, independent consultant, highlighted the current problems in this sector and put forth some recommendations. The President of NFEA, Mr. Bal Bahadur Tamang agreed that there were multiple problems in the migration sector.

Several recent laws and orders in Nepal specifically limit the international migration of women. Controlling migration and hindering women’s right to migration will not curb or prevent trafficking and will simply drive it underground. Women migrants are cheated by agents at origin country and also at the destinations by manpower companies and employers. Due to some unclear distinctions between the migration and trafficking, cases of human trafficking have not been registered in police. Hence, the police do not investigate any such cases branding them to be case of foreign employment cases. The victims of exploitation have no where to go even after they are rescued or return on their own from destination countries. The Indo-Nepal open border is also a problem in checking trafficking cases. Those aspirant women migrants who wish to travel to Gulf countries are not allowed by the government. They make their own choice through local agents and manpower companies. They are taken to Mumbai or any other big cities of India in the pretext of taking them to Gulf countries. Without the proper papers in hand and capacity to take the legal actions against the perpetrators, these women are churned into the cycle of exploitation.

Many migrant workers, especially women fall victim to series of exploitation at the destination countries. Due to the inability to cope with the miserable situations, many commit suicide and many survive with mental illness and some even return back with children. There is no justice to these victims—neither at destination nor at the origin country. The embassies in the destination countries have not been very sensitive and effective to punish the employers at the destination countries. Most of the policies and bills emphasize rescue and rehabilitation operations and income generation schemes, although both approaches have been criticized for their ineffectiveness and paternalistic approach to trafficked persons and those vulnerable to trafficking.

The participants in the meeting also revealed the facts that agencies working for the educational facilities and tourist agencies are also involved in the trafficking practice. The 'students' and 'tourists' are squandered in the destination countries with out proper travelling papers and enough money to take actions against the fraudulent agencies or even return back to their country. The police do not entertain such cases saying that these are the concerns of ministry of labour and employment. These victims choose either to keep quiet or go to the goondas to settle the case. These packs of goondas take large portion of the money in the name of their services. Some are lucky to get back some portion of their money from the manpower companies, but many end up in misery.