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Poor work conditions, torture force 35 Ugandans commit suicide in Asia

BY Tom Mugisha, tom.mugisha@alleastafrica.com

KAMPALA – A shocking report obtained parliament from Uganda’s mission in United Arab Emirates indicate that 48 Ugandans have either committed suicide or died in Asia in the last eight months.

They have died in UAE and other neighboring countries of Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait since this year began, 35 of the deaths are suicidal.

The other deaths have been attributed to accidents, cardiac arrest, murder, drowning, and other diseases like Meningitis, HIV and liver failure.

The report was released on Tuesday by the MPs sitting on the committee on Gender, Labour and Social Development and committee on Foreign Affairs who last week returned from their trip in Abu Dhabi.

 Ngora County MP David Abala attributed these suicidal deaths to frustrations due the dreadful working conditions in these countries characterized by gruesome rape, torture, unpaid wages and confinement by their Arab tormentors.

“Between January and August, 48 of our girls and boys employed in these countries have died mainly due to bad working conditions. Incidentally, there are those whose parents could not be traced at the time of their death, and their bodies were buried in a desert,” Abala said.

The MPs have now tasked government to come out clearly explain why Ugandans are being exported to work in countries where they do not have bilateral agreements.

“All these deaths have been registered from countries like Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Kuwait among others and you realise that Uganda has not signed any bilateral agreements with them. Why is government still exporting labour to these countries that do not have bilateral agreements with Uganda?” Abala asked.

Ugandans are hoodwinked by dubious middlemen with visual salaries and end up being given peanuts which cannot match the high cost of living in such Arab countries.

When the workers reach Asia, they are frustrated because sometimes their passports are confiscated. Those who commit suicide realized they cannot return home as their passports are confiscated by their tormentors.

Statistics from Central Bank show that the cost of living in the UAE has risen over years and in the last one year alone, the cost of living rose by 6.7%.

Unemployment is forcing these young Ugandans to look for casual jobs in Asia. According to Uganda Investment Authority (UIA), 400,000 young people are entering the job market annually and Uganda can only employ less than half.

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