Kathmandu, May 28, 2016: On the Occasion of 55th Amnesty International (AI) Day, Amnesty International, Nepal Youth Network organized Inter-College Speech Competition in the capital today.
Organized for the second time in Nepal, the topic of the competition was â€˜Protecting Human Rights of Migrant Workers in a Globalized Worldâ€™.
A three member jury team comprising of Shardha Thapa from Amnesty International Nepal, Hreedaya Pandit, advocate at the Supreme court of Nepal and Apekshya Niraula from Janakpur Youth Network judged the contestants on the basis of their performances on different aspects like getting into the topic, clarity of subject matter, gestures and presentation.
The participants in the competition discussed what rights of migrant workers will denote to in todayâ€™s globalized world. â€œThe issue of the rights of migrant workers in the globalized world came into light as early as the mid-19th century, the time when people started migrating to places and countries outside of their origin,â€ said Suraj Dangal, the first speaker in the competition. He mentioned how migrant labourers are cheated in their own homelands by the manpower agencies and later by recruiters and employers.
Puja Silwal, the other contestant said that though 529 of our brothers and sisters returned in coffins last year, our government is turning a deaf ear to the plights of the migrant workers. â€Though there is a provision of Foreign Employment Tribunal Court, where the cheated foreign workers can apply for justice, the application process is very tedious and difficult. This means that even though people are cheated, they donâ€™t want to go through this process,â€ said she.
â€œThe condition of migrant workers is too vulnerable though the remittance from their earning contributes a huge share in the national economy. Even though our people are cheated by the employers in the gulf, the government is not doing enough to ensure safety of its citizens,â€ said Nitish Pathak giving his speech.
Bipana Chapagain, a contestant from Nepal Law Campus stated that labour migrants are not commodities and things to purchase and sell. â€œThey need to be treated in a humane way,â€ said she. She also mentioned that at least one member from almost all households in the nation is abroad to earn a better living. â€œConfiscation of the passport by the employers on Kafala System is making the labour migration to gulf just the other form of modern day slavery. There are progressive laws in place. These laws need to be properly enforced to eliminate such problems,â€ she further said.
Ojaswi Bhattarai, the other speaker, mentioned that people from third world countries like south Asia are suffering because of lack of proper laws to protect the rights of labour migrant workers. Giving reference to the construction of the Stadium for Qatar World Cup-2022, she raised the necessity to stand for human rights. â€œMore than 1200 workers have already died there. If we donâ€™t act on this, the situation would continue,â€ she said.
The other participant, Bipana Adhikari, stated that the migrant workers are not treated in a way they are supposed to be. â€œThe migrant workers are even working in slavelike conditions and at times they are even the victims of malpractices, ill-treatments and trafficking,â€ she pointed out.
Bipana Adhikari from Nepal Law Campus was declared the winner in the competition and Ojaswi Bhattarai from the same college came as the first runner up while Nitish Pathak managed to secure second runner up position. The winners were awarded with certificates and plaques.
â€œAmnesty International Nepal was formally established in Nepal to speak for ensuring of human rights,â€ said Apekshya Niraula, a jury member in the competition. â€œAnd the objective behind conducting this competition is to engage the youths and students studying in college level aware of the current situation of migrant labourers from Nepal and their plights, ultimately helping to stop the human rights violations rife in the present day world.â€
Hreedaya Pandit, the other jury member in the competition praised the passions with which the participants presented their speeches. He also explained the importance of such events and how the youths need to come forward to discuss on such issues and make the authorities concerned aware about the problems our citizens are facing to resolve and create a healthy workforce.
The participants in the programme also got to enjoy with musical performances and there were some ice-breaking sessions to engage them throughout the session.
The programme saw the active participation of more than 50 students from different colleges.
Glocal Khabar was the official media partner of the event.
By Basanta Kumar Dhakal