Many Ugandan migrant domestic workers, the vast majority of whom are women, are employed in households across Arab Gulf societies. Despite the ubiquitous presence of these foreign workers in Gulf households, there exist challenges regarding the working conditions and treatment of this population.
To begin his working visit, the Senior Presidential Advisor on Diaspora Affairs & Ambassador at Large, H.E. Hajji Abbey Walusimbi, held a consultative meeting with the leaders of the Ugandan Community in Qatar, to ascertain the living and working conditions. This is against the backdrop of an engaging Zoom meeting that was held last month, with emphasis on forging a path to improve the welfare of Ugandans in the Gulf states.
Ambassador Walusimbi reassured that H.E. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni treasures the welfare of his ‘Bazzukulu’, abroad, and has instructed the formation of different Diaspora desks in almost all government institutions, departments, and agencies. This, he is doing to ensure his ‘Bazzukulu’ are served more efficiently.
He added that the President is consistently engaging with more of his counterparts to open doors for Ugandans, to seek greener pastures, adding that the Government and the private sector are also working with other countries beyond the Gulf region, to see that more Ugandans access decent jobs, on top of a labor bilateral Agreement, which will next month be signed with Qatar.
Notably, the Ambassador appealed to Ugandans abroad to learn from the President, by making friends for the country and becoming a salesman of Uganda, by taking an interest in areas where the country needs growth like tourism and agro-processing, among others.
As part of the follow-up process regarding challenges facing Ugandans in Qatar, Walusimbi also revealed that he engaged with different officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and NIRA. “We know for a fact that everything is being done to address issues of your passports and National IDs, among other challenges. There is an ongoing project to deploy more workers at the different Ugandan missions abroad, to help clear any backlogs in document processing.”
He also applauded the Mission staff for representing Uganda’s interests in Qatar, and the Ugandan Community in Qatar for being united and well-organized, adding that groups make it easier for the government to work on challenges facing Ugandan migrant workers.
The Deputy Ambassador of Uganda to Qatar, Ambassador Muhammad Kezaala, noted that as the Mission in Qatar, the destination country, it’s their mandate and wish that the rights, welfare, and obligations of all Ugandan migrant domestic workers are guaranteed.
“The welfare of every Ugandan in Qatar is our obligation. In this respect, we offer them consular services whenever they need them. We have cases of Ugandans who, having spent time abroad, wish to come back to the country voluntarily and contribute to the development of their country. Some are in distress or have been found to lack the requisite paperwork. When they come to us, they need access to jobs, the needed skills, counseling, and guidance, which we provide”.
The Chairperson of the Ugandan Community in Qatar, Mr. Aliguma Saul Rayan, noted the need to understand more about the extent of challenges facing members, to explore remedies to improve workplace and living conditions, with a focus on access to documents, health, and legal services, as a significant part of the protection and rights of Ugandan migrant domestic workers.
Still, the Ambassador at Large will proceed to visit and interact with distressed Ugandan domestic migrant workers in shelters, in a bid to find mutually acceptable solutions to their concerns.