Italy is summarily returning unaccompanied migrant children and adult asylum seekers to Greece, where they face a dysfunctional asylum system and abusive detention conditions, Human Rights Watch said in a report published today. Stowaways on ferries from Greece, including children as young as 13, are sent back by Italian authorities within hours without adequate consideration of their particular needs as children or their desire to apply for asylum.
When Abid was five, immigration officials arrested him and his family, Pakistani refugees fleeing religious persecution. The officials took them to the squalid immigration detention centre in central Bangkok. There, they joined hundreds of other refugees detained indefinitely, awaiting some distant possibility of release.
In Geneva over the next two weeks, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will play an influential role on the Governing Body of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). Yet Human Rights Watch (HRW) has documented how within the UAE migrant domestic workers are exploited by employers and recruiters, while government policies create conditions which foster abuse and forced labour.
In December 2012, Sadiyah A. (her real name is withheld for her security) migrated from the Philippines to the United Arab Emirates to work as a babysitter. One year later, she sat before me in Abu Dhabi telling me that the job turned out to be no golden opportunity.
Almost 150,000 female domestic workers are employed in the UAE. Most are Asian, but increasing numbers are from East Africa. While some find employers who treat them well and pay them on time, major gaps in the UAE’s labour laws and restrictive immigration policies — coupled with unethical recruitment in home countries — foster an environment that is ripe for exploitation and abuse.
“I decided to travel abroad for work to build a house,” Tahira told me. With few options for work in her village in Subang district, West Java, the 28-year-old migrated to the United Arab Emirates in 2012 to become a domestic worker. She had high hopes of making enough money there to support her husband and young son at home in Indonesia. But her dream quickly became a nightmare.
Migrant domestic workers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are beaten, exploited, and trapped in forced labor situations, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The UAE government, about to take up an influential new role in the International Labour Organization (ILO), has failed to adequately protect female domestic workers – many of them from the Philippines – from abuse by employers and recruiters.
European Union member states’ justice and home affairs ministers meeting in Luxembourg should take forward a comprehensive and collective EU response to search and rescue needs in the central Mediterranean to urgently save lives.