Bangladesh: Cries of domestic workers still go unheard
Cries of female domestic workers for their rights and welfare are still unheeded in Bangladesh as the International Women’s Day was observed on Sunday.
The day is observed each year to promote and recognise women’s rights and achievements but the female domestic workers’ rights and welfare have always remained disregarded, especially here in Bangladesh.
Spurred by frequent reports of abuse of domestic workers by their employers, the government drafted Domestic Workers Protection and Welfare Policy in 2010.
Three years have ever since gone by, but the government has not yet approved and published it in gazette.
Besides, in 2010, the High Court issued a 10-point directive to halt oppression and repression on the domestic workers, but situation has hardly changed since then.
In January, Ain O Salish Kendra reported in January that 44 acts of violence, including an attempt to rape and four deaths after physical tortures, had taken place between January and September last year.
Being poor, illiterate and helpless, the domestic workers cannot prosecute their employers who subject them to physical and mental abuse.
Labour and Employment Ministry already finalised the draft of ‘Domestic Workers Protection and Welfare Policy 2010’, but this policy is yet to be approved and published in gazette for an unknown reason.
Even the government in 2013 ignored a demand to include the domestic workers as ‘workers’ in the Labour Law 2006 and so they cannot form any trade union to speak up their rights.
Though in the articles 14, 15, 20, 34 of our Constitution equal rights of all the citizens were mentioned, the domestic workers continue to face discrimination.
According to Labour Force Survey of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, Bangladesh has about 14 lakh female domestic workers.
Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies says in a report that harassment, torture and violation of human rights of the domestic workers reached an alarming proportion recently.
Domestic Workers Rights Network (DWRN) member secretary Nazma Begum said there is no law and inspection system for domestic workers and so they have to face trouble, but a law and an inspection system can change it.
Bangladesh is yet to ratify ILO Convention (No. 189) titled ‘decent works for domestic workers’.
Story Type: News