ILO to Hold African-Gulf States Dialogue to Ensure Decent Work for African Migrants

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Addis Ababa (ENA) November 24 /2022   The International Labour Organization (ILO) said it will organize a platform for dialogue on promoting decent job for African migrant workers in the Middle East in the early months of the upcoming year.

Speaking to ENA, ILO Country Office Director Alexio Musindo said many migrant workers are often found in temporary, unprotected jobs, which makes them vulnerable to decent work deficits.

Mainly, women are over-represented in care and domestic work where they are vulnerable to abuse and exploitation in the Middle East countries, he added.

“Almost all the IGAD member countries have millions of workers as legal and illegal migrants working in the Gulf States. Some of them are in very poor working conditions. Some of them are doing relatively well,” the director noted.

In this regard, ILO is trying to provide a platform for dialogue in the near future between the African countries and Gulf States in the early months of the upcoming year, Musindo revealed.

“ILO is globally using its various tools and trying to provide a platform for dialogue. On the dialogue side, we are not looking at the power of one country, but looking at the power of the continent for Africa. So next year we are looking at possibilities for Africa-Gulf states dialogue on promoting safe migration. I think this is a precious idea at the continental level, would help Africa come together.”

According to him, this dialogue is vital to end the suffering of migrant workers and create decent job for them in the countries of destination.

Asked about the abuse Ethiopian workers have been experiencing recently, the director said that ILO is working to ensure Ethiopian workers rights in the destination countries with its global standards.

Ethiopia has a large number of legal and illegal migrant workers in the Gulf States and ILO will make all available measures to protect the rights of those workers, Musindo stated.

This would include a wide range of measures and effective coordination between countries of origin and destination.

He added ILO is also supporting participation of trade unions from Ethiopia to work with trade unions for countries of destination in Middle East countries to protect the country’s migrant workers.

“Recently we are supporting trade unions from Ethiopia to work with trade unions in the countries of destination. The two trade unions can also pressurize the authorities in ensuring that all workers are the same whether migrant or local……We are also working with the recruitment agencies to ensure that recruitment agencies are guided by the ILO standards.”

The recruitment agencies prepare workers before they leave and when people in the destination country with their follow up mechanism, the director elaborated.

The director also called on the Ethiopian government to have a critical database about Ethiopian migrant workers saying that “with such knowledge, it will be much easier to track and support migrants.”

Reports show that the increasing migration flows to the Middle East is becoming an important source of foreign currency for the IGAD member states.

Middle East countries have become important countries of destination for migrant workers from the African countries most importantly from the IGAD region.

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