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OHRC issues statement on Sierra Leone domestic workers

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The Oman Human Rights Commission (OHRC), under its jurisdictions and responsibilities, followed up the report published by the International Committee for Migration and London Guardian concerning the complaints of mistreatment of domestic workers who had travelled from the Republic of Sierra Leone to work in Oman, a statement released by the OHRC said.

The British Guardian published that domestic workers who came from the Republic of Sierra Leone to work in Oman in different jobs based on agreements between them, and recruitment agencies inside their countries that offered good salaries. In addition, some workers agreed with the same agencies to work in European countries, without informing them that they are going to Oman to work as domestic workers.

“Based on the communications received from ‘Project 189’ in London - an international organisation that supports the rights of migrant workers in the Middle East region, about what has been raised by domestic workers from Sierra Leone, the OHRC coordinated with authorities concerned in Oman to investigate the reality of the issue at hand. Authorities concerned clarified and affirmed that labour rights are guaranteed by Omani local laws and legislations including the rights of domestic workers, which includes the assurance of obtaining the agreed monthly wage within a period not exceeding seven days from the end of each month or according to what the two parties agree upon as well as the signing of receiving it or whatsoever prove that, the provision of appropriate food and housing, and the provision of the necessary medical treatment by the employer for the duration of the contract,” the statement said.

In case of any violations on labour rights, including domestic workers, which may be located in any country in the world, the worker may resort to legal means after the possibility of reporting the complaint through various bodies, including the Ministry of Labour, Royal Oman Police, Public Prosecution, the National Committee for Combating Human Trafficking, and the Oman Human Rights Commission.

“Any expatriate worker may register his/ her complaint by going directly to such authorities, or reporting to them via hotlines, text messages, WhatsApp, voice mail, e-mail, or through their websites on the Internet,” said the statement.

In some cases where domestic workers fall victims to human trafficking so that they are exploited in work that is a conflict with their work contract or forced to carry out illegal work, they can inform the National Committee for Combating Human Trafficking to take the necessary action to protect the affected worker and follow her rights in coordination with the Ministry of Social Development, which provides shelter to victims of human trafficking (Dar Al-Wifaq) ensuring legal assistance, health and psychological care, and subsistence in the shelter, with the aim of mitigating the effects of any inhuman exploitation.

“Hence, it is clear to OHRC that the aforementioned workers referred to in the press report or through the aforementioned international organisation have been deceived by recruitment agencies in their countries, and this is what was published by the London Guardian. In addition, the domestic worker was circumvented and persuaded regarding the nature of the jobs offered, the monthly wage, and the place of residence, before they travel to any destination outside their country. As a result, some of them escaped from their employers after discovering the inaccuracy and honesty of what had been reported to them by the labour recruitment agencies in their countries.”

On the other hand, the aforementioned workers had to report their complaints to the authorities concerned and follow them up in accordance with the laws and procedures in force, and they could also inform the competent authorities at the airport of refusing to travel to their countries if the recruitment office decided to deport them, on condition they prove that they did not obtain their rights or exposed to any abuse.

“OHRC assures that it monitors human rights violations through several means such as receiving complaints through the direct presence by the complainant at the commission’s headquarter, or the submitting the complaint through several means including e-mail, website, and direct contact via phone, record the report via voice mail, or communicate through (WhatsApp) number, or via the social media accounts, thus OHRC coordinates with the competent authorities to work on settling cases and violations in accordance with the local laws in force,” it said.

The OHRC as per its jurisdictions welcomes any observations or complaints on human rights issues in Oman, and work to investigate the reality and settle such cases.

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