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Analysis and adoption of two ratification bills

The design of a special passport for identification and protection of Burundian emigrants seeking jobs in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is underway, the Minister of Interior, Community Development and Public Security reassured on Thursday. Lieutenant General of Police Gervais Ndirakobuca would defend two bills, namely the bill on the ratification by the Republic of Burundi of the agreement on the recruitment of workers between the Government of the Republic of Burundi and the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the bill on the ratification by the Republic of Burundi of the agreement on the recruitment of domestic workers between the Governments of the Republic of Burundi and the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

These two bills were voted unanimously by the MPs present at the Kigobe Congress Place.

In his explanatory statement, Lieutenant General of Police, Gervais Ndirakobuca explained that international migration in general is now a global phenomenon that is increasing in scale and complexity. Many countries are now countries of origin, transit and destination for migrant workers. Workforce migration can have a significant impact on the socio-economic development of these countries of origin, transit or destination. Countries of origin, where the coordination is good, workers benefit from remittance flows and the transfer of investment, technology and essential skills when migrant workers return after their service. Also, for the country of origin, workforce mobility reduces youth unemployment and reassures the welfare of the population in general and the families of migrant workers in particular.

While migrant workers contribute to the economic growth of their countries of destination and origin, the phenomenon of irregular migration poses complex challenges in terms of the protection of migrant workers, the links between migration and development, and international cooperation. The Government of the Republic of Burundi, aware of the benefits of migration but also concerned to meet the challenges, is working to regulate this movement of labour through a binding legal framework with destination countries, including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for the benefit of migrant workers, employers and both countries.

Thus, the Government of the Republic of Burundi and the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia signed two (2) bilateral agreements, one on the recruitment of workers and the other on the recruitment of domestic workers, on October 3, 2021 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. More than one Member of Parliament expressed their concerns about the Kafala system in use in Saudi Arabia and indeed in all Gulf countries since 1970. As a reminder, this system is decried by all human rights defenders. And for good reason! This system consists of prohibiting workers from resigning, changing jobs, and even leaving the country of employment without the authorisation of the employer, to whom they often hand over their passport. This system led to various abuses such as non-payment of wages, forced labour and even abuse.

More than one Member of Parliament expressed their concerns about the Kafala system in use in Saudi Arabia and indeed in all Gulf countries since 1970. As a reminder, this system is criticised by all human rights defenders. And for good reason! This system consists of preventing workers from leaving their jobs, changing jobs, and even leaving the country of employment without the permission of the employer, to whom they often hand over their passport. This system led to various abuses such as non-payment of salaries, forced labour and even abuse.

The member of the Government reassured. The Kafala system will be excluded from the clauses of the contract which will take into account the labour code applied in Burundi. Moreover, migrant workers will be sponsored this time by recruitment agencies recognised by the Government of Burundi, which will in turn sign partnership contracts with Saudi recruitment agencies also recognised by the Saudi state. The plenary invited the Government to initiate such agreements in countries of the sub-region, including Tanzania, where residents in the neighboring provinces of Cankuzo, Ruyigi, Rutana and Muyinga are being abused. The argument moved forward by the Government’s envoy that the EALA law is applicable did not convince the MPs for whom the little people do not even know the existence of the EAC.

 
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