Kathmandu: Nearly 6,000 Nepali Workers Have Died Abroad

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Forced LaborHuman Trafficking

A new report from Nepal’s government reveals that nearly 6,000 Nepali migrant workers have died abroad over the last nine years.

In total, 5,892 Nepali migrant workers — 5,765 male and 127 female — passed away in 28 countries according to the government report “Labor Migration for Employment – A Status Report for Nepal: 2015-16 2016-2017.”

Notably, the country with the most deaths was Malaysia at 2,154, followed by Saudi Arabia (1,638), Qatar (1,203), the United Arab Emirates (427) and Kuwait (186).

Other top destinations for Nepali migrant workers recorded significant deaths as well, including Bahrain (77), Republic of Korea (77), Oman (47), Lebanon (20), and Afghanistan (19).

Xinhua reports that the official cause of death is often in question, especially when workers were exposed to dangerous working conditions:

According to the report, as many as 1,351 saw natural death while a significant number – 1,144 died due to cardiac arrest. However, 917 cases were categorized into non-identified category.

A total of 798 Nepalis died due to road accidents while 650 people committed suicide, according to report. As many as 51 cases of murder of Nepalis were reported during the nine-year period.

“To understand further, the causes of the migrant worker’s death, an in-depth investigation of the autopsies and medical records in the destination countries would require,” the report suggested.

During the launching ceremony, Nepal’s Minister for Labour, Employment and Social Security Gokarna Bista said the report identified the key areas to bring reforms in foreign employment sector.

Nepal is heavily dependent on remittances from migrant workers to support the domestic economy. Remittances totalled 471 billion Nepali Rupees (4.39 billion U.S. dollars) in the first eight months of of the current fiscal year.

The government says during this period there were 246,324 new Nepali migrant workers and 172,424 current migrant workers who returned to their destination countries.

The new report was published by Nepal’s Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security, with support from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the International Labour Organization (ILO), and The Asia Foundation.

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