KATHMANDU, Jan 25: The UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, Felipe González Morales, is visiting Nepal from January 29 to February 5 to assess the recruitment practices and return and reintegration programs for Nepalis working abroad.
Gozalez Morales is visiting after the government in September last year invited three UN Special Rapporteurs to examine the human rights situation in different thematic areas. The move aims to demonstrate Nepal's commitment to international human rights obligations and dispel unwarranted criticisms of Nepal's human rights record in view of its bid for the membership of the UN Human Rights Council.
“I thank the Government of Nepal for giving me opportunity to make this visit. Migration plays an important role in the economic development of Nepal. Every day 1,600 workers leave Nepal for foreign employment through official channels, and remittances are equivalent to around 30 percent of the country's GDP,” a press statement issued by UN office in Nepal quoted González Morales as saying.
“However, many migrants experience abuse and exploitation, which often begins during the recruitment process,” the statement quoted him as saying further. “They may face further difficulties upon their return and when trying to reintegrate into their society. This visit presents an opportunity to assess their situation on the ground.”
During his eight-day visit to Nepal, he will meet government senior officials as well as aspiring and returned migrants and their families. The Special Rapporteur will present a comprehensive report of the visit to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2018, according to UN office in Nepal.
Nepal had invited UN Special Rapporteurs on Rights to Food and Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, Its Causes and Consequences, while also reiterating its standing invitation to the Special Rapporteurs on Human Rights of Migrants amid a critical scrutiny by the international community on the human rights situation, especially after the then government decided not to renew the mandate of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHRC)'s Country Office in 2012.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein during the UN Human Rights Council session held in May, 2017 had criticized various member states including Nepal for keeping the visits of special rapporteurs on hold for a long time. Officials in Nepal, however, refute the allegation, saying that the UN body had not responded to Nepal's invitation for Special Rapporteurs on Independence of Judges and Lawyers and Special Rapporteurs on Human Rights of Migrants back in 2014.