A total of 48 Ugandans are reported to have died in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the neighboring countries of Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait in the last 9 months according to the findings by the Parliamentary Committee on Gender.
The members of the committee led by Ngora county MP, David Abala and Western Region Youth MP, Mwine Mpaka noted that they were shocked to learn of the deaths during their field visit to Dubai last week.
Abala said that most of the deaths registered are due to suicide (35) while others were as a result of heart attack, traumatic shock, accidents, septic shock, cardiac arrest, murder, drowning, meningitis and complications of HIV.
“Most of these deaths are as a result of mistreatment where most of the dead were denied food and a better livelihood,” Abala said.
Mpaka said that the government should rise up and reconsider banning exportation of labor to those countries to which there is no signed bilateral agreement.
Mpaka noted that the labour laws in most of the countries are unfriendly and require a bilateral agreement to have them softened.
“In most of those countries, the labour source country ceases to take responsibility over you within the first three months and thereafter you become a property of your master and the labour companies can no longer follow you up or anything that befalls you,” Mpaka said.
According to a report by the Ministry of Gender that was issued recently, Uganda has entered into a bilateral agreement with two countries which include; Saudi Arabia and Jordan.
“We are not against labour export, every year Uganda exports over 50, 000 young boys and girls but in this matter, exporting youths to countries where we don’t have bilateral agreement leaves many Ugandans victims of the labour laws in those countries.”
Mpaka called on government to set up a rescue fund as well as a home in these countries to deal with the cases of girls that have undergone shock to have them rehabilitated before they are brought back home.
There has been numerous appeals from civil society calling on government to regulate labour export to the Middle East due to rising risks but less has been done in response.
Female employees from Uganda have in the past been exploited sexually forcing some of them to return to Uganda.