Although Iraq and Libya were banned destinations for Nepalese workers, large numbers of Nepalese still sneak to Iraq and Libya illegally. Nobody cares about the state of the country till something dangerous breaks out.
As internal civil war reached high points in Iraq and Libya, the news poured in the media telling the stories of Nepalese there. Although it is the duty of every Nepalese passport holder to inform nearby Nepalese mission about their presence, nobody took it seriously. When they landed in trouble, Nepalese citizens sought the help.
Despite the repetition of these kinds of situation for the last many years, no step has been taken to coordinate among the various government agencies, including Home Ministry, Ministry of Labor and Employment and Foreign Ministry.
Ministry of Labor and Ministry of Home Affairs are involved in the process of sending the Nepalese workers. However, Ministry of Foreign Affairs always blames other’s weaknesses in this regard. The incidents of Iraq and Libya too are not a new.
Nepalese workers have bitter experiences with Iraq as there was rampant abuse of manpower offices in 2003 when ten Nepalese were killed in Iraq. Despite such bitter experiences, around 10,000 Nepalese are still working in Iraq and around 500 Nepalese are in war torn Libya.
“Ministry of Foreign Affairs is protecting the interest of Nepalese living abroad. As soon as we got the information regarding the deteriorating situation in Libya and Iraq, Ministry sent a mission to assess the security and safety of Nepalese citizens,” said foreign Secretary Shankar Bairagi in a press conference. “We tried to reach out to Nepalese workers.”
As both the nations have been going through turmoil and various countries showed concern over the safety and security of their citizens, Nepal too sent a mission under joint secretary Arjun Kanta Mainali in Iraq and formed a task force under joint secretary Prakash Subedi to look at the state of Nepalese in Libya. “After making contacts with Nepalese mission in Egypt, we came to know that around 300 Nepalese were working in Libya. Our mission in Egypt has been making every effort to safely evacuate them.”
As Nepalese are illegally working in most dangerous African countries with internal conflicts, the time has come to make a mechanism to stop such mobility of Nepalese in such places.