Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Costech bans Human Rights Watch report on domestic workers’ abuse


By Witness Robert @ThecitizenTz news@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam.  Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (Costech) has banned Human Rights Watch from launching its report on abuses against migrant domestic workers in Oman and United Arab Emirates.

Speaking to journalists on Tuesday, November 14, Dr Willium Kindekete from Costech said the commission decided to ban the report because the researchers did not follow procedures.

He said while the findings contained in the report compiled by Human Rights Watch (URW) were about the abuse Tanzanian girls were facing from their bosses in Oman and UAE, the researcher did not travel to Oman to prove the allegations.

Dr Kindekete said HRW officials who were to launch the report have some immigration issues.

“Their visas do not identify them as researchers, but just visitors; so they aren’t allowed to work in the country,” said Dr Kindekete.

According to HRW researcher on Middle East and North Africa Women's Right’s Rothna Begum, she followed all the procedures before the research’s launch but was shocked to receive information of the ban one hour before the launch.

Ms Begum claimed that something might have been happening behind the scenes, leading to the ban, as she had met with various officials from the ministry of Foreign Affairs and ministry of Labour and was given the greenlight for the launch.

“I don't know what happened within one hour," she said.

Furthermore, she explained that the real focus of the research was to give a chance to the government to forge a way forward in helping domestic workers abused in Oman and UAE.

She said the research was carried out from November 2016 to Feb 2017 in Dar es Salaam, Bagamoyo, Mwanza and Zanzibar.

Whereas thousands of Tanzanian domestic workers in the Middle East have decent working conditions, many others face abuse.

She said HRW interviewed 87 people including Tanzanian officials, trade unionists, recruitment agents and 50 Tanzanian female domestic workers who worked in Oman and the UAE.

She added that half the number of domestic workers were from Mainland Tanzania and the other half from Zanzibar.

"All the respondents said their employers and agents confiscated their passports. Many worked long hours (up to 21 hours a day) without rest. They said they were paid less than promised or not at all, forced to eat spoiled or left over food, shouted at and insulted daily and physically and sexually abused, the finding shows.