When do Arabian Gulf Countries cancel the sponsor system “Al Kafeel”?

April 18th, 2012 by Editor

On April 18, 2012, the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) issued a detailed report entitled when do Arabian Gulf Countries cancel the sponsor system “Al Kafeel”? The report documents the situation of the Egyptian manpower in different countries in the world in general, and the Arab countries in particular. The report covered the situation of the Egyptian manpower in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which still uses the kafeel system. The system is criticized by many legal and manpower experts in different countries and labor organizations because of having no connection with the international standards of labor and human rights.

The report discusses how the Egyptian manpower suffers a lot under Al Kafeel system and how their families suffer inside and outside Egypt too. The enormous population increase in Egypt leaded to looking for working opportunities in the Gulf Countries. The Arabian businessmen hired millions of Egyptians in their companies because of their law salaries, in comparison with others from other countries.

The first section covers the legislative frame of the right of employment including different international conventions that guaranteed the right of labor such as the constitution of the International Labor Organization, founded in 1919, the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights, article 6 and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 23 in addition to many other international covenants in connection with the legal basis for recruitment of migrants, covenant no. 97, year 1949, and recruitment discrimination, covenant no. 111, year 1958.

The second section covers the situation of the Egyptian laborers abroad in general and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in particular. This section discusses the problems of Al Kafeel system including the corruption of many sponsors, Kafeels. Many of the sponsors keep the Egyptian laborers’ money in their banking accounts for a long time and that naturally deters them from leaving the kingdom. The report also discussed accepting non-suitable jobs, immediate deportation, changing contracting terms of the laborers after arriving in the recruiting country and high cost of work permissions.

The third section tackles model cases of Egyptian laborers came under human rights violations in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, observed and documented in years 2010 and 2011. Many human rights and political activists, who struggled to cancel the sponsorship system, were sent to prisons, while the Egyptian authorities have been doing little efforts towards saving the rights of the Egyptian citizens abroad. In this regard EOHR tried to provide some recommendations for facing these kinds of serious human rights’ violations, as follows:

Placing a national strategy for enhancement of the situation of Egyptian laborers and migrants abroad, in cooperation with the Egyptian embassies abroad

Immediate investigation of the torture incidents

Calling the Arab countries for reconsidering their labor legislations

Calling the Arabian Gulf Countries for canceling Kafeel system

The new Egyptian constitution should mention the right of Egyptians abroad for political participation and voting

Starting negotiations with the authorities in the Arabian Gulf Countries to allow sending fact finding missions of local and international civil society organizations to follow up the situation of laborers

Reorganizing the standards of recruiting Egyptian laborers abroad and having agreements signed with the Arabian Gulf Countries

Reactivation of the role played by the Egyptian labor offices abroad in order to protect the Egyptian citizens’ rights

Unifying the rules of the companies working on recruiting Egyptians abroad

Construction of a comprehensive system for taking care of Egyptians abroad

Establishing of the Egyptian migration fund

Providing the Egyptian citizens abroad with legal awareness related to their rights and duties and the necessity of registration with the Egyptian consulates abroad

Establishing a new governmental authority, affiliated to the Ministry of Manpower, to handle the Egyptians’ complaints against sponsors in order to be banned from recruiting Egyptian citizens in the future

The listed violating sponsors should be banned from recruiting Egyptian manpower for 5 years.

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