Dubai: The investigation by Oman’s Human Rights Commission (OHRC) over the alleged mistreatment of domestic workers from Sierra Leone has found out that the workers were deceived by recruitment agencies in their countries.
The investigation was carried out by the OHRC following the publishing of reports by the International Organisation for Migration and The Guardian about the mistreatment of Sierra Leonean workers.
“The British Guardian reported that the Sierra Leonean workers came to work in Oman upon an agreement with the recruitment agencies in their countries on good salaries. Some workers also signed contracts with the same agencies to work in European countries, though they were not informed that they would be taken to Oman to work as domestic workers,” the commission said.
Based on the communications received from “Project 189” in London — an international organisation that supports the rights of migrant workers in the Middle East region — regarding Sierra Leone workers, the OHRC coordinated with authorities concerned in Oman to investigate the matter.
On investigation, the OHRC found that the workers have been deceived by recruitment agencies in their home countries, and this report was published by the London -based newspaper.
In addition, the domestic workers were also persuaded regarding the nature of jobs, monthly wages, and the place of residence, before travelling.
As a result, some of them escaped from their employers after discovering discrepancy in the agreement with their countries’ recruitment agencies.
The workers should have registered their complaints with the authorities concerned in compliance with laws followed in the Sultanate.
They could have also informed the Omani competent authorities at the airport if recruitment agencies decided to deport them, but they did not complain about the violation of their rights.
Therefore, the Omani authorities clarified that labour rights are guaranteed by the Omani law and legislation, which include payment of monthly wages within a period not exceeding seven days from the end of each month or what the two parties have agreed upon while signing the agreement.
The labour law also stipulates that food and housing as well as the necessary medical treatment are provided the employer for the contract duration.
The OHRC highlighted that it monitors human rights violations through several means such as receiving complaints through the direct presence by the complainant at the commission’s headquarter, or the submission of complaint through several means including e-mail, website, and direct contact via Phone, voice mail, or communication through (WhatsApp) number, social media accounts. Thus OHRC coordinates with the competent authorities to work on settling disputes and violations in accordance with the local laws in force.
OHRC as per its jurisdiction welcomes any observations or complaints on human rights issues in Oman, and investigates such cases to settle them.