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The plight of Bangladeshi migrant workers in the Gulf

On March 2, 2010

This post was contributed by Kashfia Rahman, a Bangladeshi activist:

Saudi Arabia and other parts of the world have neglected and mistreated migrant workers without being given the basic human rights.

Around 90,000 Bangladeshi migrant workers live and work in Bahrain, 10 per cent of the total population of that country. In the year 2006-07, these migrants sent $80 million in remittances home. But the recent murder of a Bahraini man by a Bangladeshi worker has sparked angry reactions from government officials and politicians. The Bahrain government has put a ban on recruitment of any further ‘untrained’ workers from Bangladesh. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Malaysia had already put restrictions on Bangladeshi laborers, sparked by earlier incidents. As often highlighted at seminars, foreign remittance is the second highest foreign currency earner for Bangladesh. But indifference from our embassies, corrupt middlemen, flawed immigration policies, lack of a strong government response and disparities in labor laws have placed hard-working men and women in international news headlines for the wrong reasons.