Fabricated absconding reports are like swords pointed at the necks of expatriate employees as they have become tools for depriving these workers of their rights, reports Al-Anba daily quoting the Kuwait Human Rights Society (KHRS).
In a press statement recently, the society asserted the procedures followed by the Public Authority for Manpower do not guarantee protection for employees. For instance, when an inspector goes to the workplace of the employee who has been reported absconding, the employee might be at another workplace under the same company but it is difficult to know such situation as long as the employer is the one guiding the inspector to the whereabouts of the worker. In this situation, the inspector will forward his report to the concerned authorities and from there, the Interior Ministry will address the issue using information which is far from reality, the society explained.
According to the society, there have been incidents in the past when an employee obtained ‘release’ letter from the Labor Relations Department after being proven that he was on the right side of the law and that he did not abscond as claimed by the employer.
However, the current mechanism has no stipulation preventing the employer from filing an absconding report against the employee under such circumstances, so the decision becomes enforceable and cannot be appealed despite the fact that the employee has obtained the ‘release’ letter. In this case, the employee ends up being pursued, arrested and then deported.
The society asserted such measures violate the rights of workers, giving an impression to outsiders that Kuwait is warding off foreign workers.
The society called for the intervention of the ministries of Interior, Social Affairs and Labor; stressing the need to instruct the concerned officials to look into the issue and activate the Arbitration Committee in the Labor Relations Department in order to clarify matters related to the absconding reports filed by employers.
In addition, the Arbitration Committee should have representatives from civil society organizations in order to create partnership in defending and protecting labor rights in a manner that promotes human rights in our beloved country, the society concluded.