Thursday, March 6, 2014

Plight of 300 children born to undocumented Nepali women migrants in Malaysia(Himalayan News Service)

Children of women migrants suffer

Are stuck in destination countries due to lack of travel documents


KATHMANDU: More than 300 children born to undocumented Nepali women migrants in Malaysia are currently languishing in the Southeast Asian country due to lack of legal clarity on whether or not they should be issued documents to travel to Nepal with their mothers.

According to the General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions (GEFONT), there are around 300-400 such children in Malaysia waiting for a legal passage to Nepal.

The problem arises when the migrant woman worker gets pregnant because the company for which she works does not allow her to work there and also refuses to allow her to stay at the company hostel.

In most cases related to pregnancy, it has been noticed that women who are pregnant run away from the company and this makes her status illegal in the destination. Her problem further worsens if the father of the child is not a Nepali.

“If the husband is not a Nepali national then the Nepali embassy cannot issue travel documents to the child because the issue of citizenship of the husband complicates matters,” said executive director at the Institute of Foreign Affairs who is also former ambassador to Malaysia Dr Rishi Raj Adhikari.

Adhikari also pointed out that if both the mother and father of the child are Nepalis then travel documents can be issued but they have to produce a birth certificate of the child.

Regarding this, coordinator of GEFONT Support Group, Malaysia (Nepali Migrant Workers’ Association) Bed Kumar Khatiwada said: “Most women do not deliver their child in a hospital because her status at this point is illegal as she had run away from the company after being pregnant. Hence, she is unable to submit a birth certificate of the child in the embassy due to which the entire problem starts.”

Considering the intensity of the matter, member of foreign department (Migration Desk) GEFONT advocate Nisha Baniya opined that the state needs to address this case because a large number of its public (women migrant workers with their children) in many other destination countries including Malaysia are making rounds at the Nepali embassy seeking help. - Himalayan News Service, 16/2/2014.Children of women migrants suffer