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Nepal hopes Doha embassy will boost fight against trafficking

Nepalese president says opening of embassy in Qatar aimed at preventing illegal recruitment

Gulf News

Manama: The opening of a Nepalese embassy in Qatar will prevent unscrupulous recruitment agents from duping innocent unskilled workers, the president of Nepal has said.

"The embassy will also facilitate the hiring of a large number of semi-skilled and skilled workers by Qatar," Dr Ram Baran Yadav said.

Labourers from Asian countries are often duped into paying huge sums of money to secure a work permit or an entry visit into one of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries with promises of lucrative employment contracts or deals.

However, the pledges are often not kept, forcing the "recruited" into a life of misery, sufferings and lawlessness. Moves by the authorities to fight the trafficking of people are often stalled by powerful groups benefiting from the situation.

Despite frustrations, a high number of labourers are still interested in finding ajob in the Gulf.

According to Dr Yadav, Qatar is one of the destinations favoured by Nepali workers.

"It made me very happy to hear from the Emir His Highness Shaikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani that Nepali workers were honest, dedicated and hardworking," the president said in an interview with Qatar Tribune daily, published on Thursday.

The opening of a Qatari embassy in Nepal and the signing of two major pacts between them will pave the way for the diversification of bilateral ties, he said.

"The two countries share a three-decade old diplomatic relationship and it is time both thought seriously about diversifying them beyond a worker-hirer relationship," he said.

Dr Yadav said that his talks with Shaikh Hamad covered a wide range of topics and areas with regard to expanding ties between the two countries.

"We discussed, for example, the tourism potential of Nepal, as the country, though small in size, boasts a diverse range of ethnicity, flora and fauna, landscape, languages and climate. The variety of climate in Nepal is the same as between the equator and the North Pole", the president said.

Talks also included exploiting the agricultural potential of Nepal, in the cultivation of rice, wheat, maize and potato, and the hydropower sector, he said.

Dr Yadav said that "things have changed in Nepal."

"After a tumultuous period of 12 years, we have a somewhat stable, elected government. We are also in the process of drafting our new constitution. So, there need not be any apprehension regarding political instability in Nepal, a deterrent to foreign investors in recent times," Dr Yadav said.