Law to protect domestic helpers in Kuwait to be issued before May, labour minister says

February 9, 2010

Mohammad Al Afassi

A law covering the rights of domestic helpers in Kuwait would be issued before May, the social affairs and labour minister has said.

“Kuwait is keen on applying standards compatible with the principles and values of the International Labour Organisation, and this keenness is reflected in the new private sector labour law,” Mohammad Al Afassi told Kuwaiti daily Al Siyassah. “The new law will be published in the official gazette within two weeks so that the labour ministry will send copies to the ILO, and the law governing the status of domestic helpers will be promulgated before the month of May,” the minister said.

Kuwait last month endorsed a new labour law that included more rights for foreign workers. However, the law was criticized for not including clauses to cover the rights of more than 600,000 domestic helpers, while the ILO called for including clauses on mandatory labour, illegal deportation of workers and the ‘kafil’, the controversial sponsorship system governing employer-employee relations in the Gulf countries.

On Monday, a Kuwaiti official suggested reducing the number of domestic workers in the country to help keep a demographic balance and fight trafficking in people.

“There are too many domestic helpers in the country. The estimated number of about 600,000 is too large and needs to be reduced in order to maintain a balanced population formula,” Brigadier Kamel Al Awadhi, head of the Immigration Directorate, said. “The number also needs to be come down in order to refute accusations of human trafficking. We have to take these accusations seriously in order to protect and defend Kuwait’s reputation,” Al Awadhi was quoted as saying by Kuwait Times.


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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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