His Excellency President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma has once again solidified his credentials as the greatest protector of welfare of the Sierra Leone Woman with the news that his Government has successfully engaged Kuwaiti government to issue a Permanent Ban on recruitment of women to serve as domestic maids in Kuwait. The decision comes amidst widespread condemnation over how Sierra Leone women are being mistreated in Kuwait when working as maids.
President Koroma, three years ago passed an Executive Order which disallowed any woman to fly from Sierra Leone heading to Kuwait under Visa 20. The Visa 20 is the class of Visa which is issued by Kuwait for domestic maids.
Immigration officers at Lungi airport and other border points, for the past three years now, have been stopping any holder of a Kuwait Visa 20 from leaving the country.
However, despite this intervention, the women still smuggled themselves out to Kuwait by road to Guinea from where they boarded planes to Kuwait. Upon arriving in Kuwait through Guinea and other neighbouring countries, the women found themselves in unbearable Visa20 slave-like conditions. Their woes will then fill up social media through audio and video clips.
According to one of the Government spokesmen who spoke to Awareness Times Newspaper last evening, when His Excellency realised that the executive ban on Lungi Airport was not enough to protect his women, His Excellency then directed his Foreign Minister to do all possible to ensure Kuwait government banned Visa20 for anyone with a Sierra Leone passport.
So it came to pass that on Tuesday 8th August, 2017, a press release issued by the Foreign Ministry of the Islamic Republic of Kuwait was announced in Sierra Leone through President Koroma's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.It stated of the immediate and permanent stopping of issuance of entry visa 20 to Sierra Leone nationals.
So, it is now official that President Koroma's Government has successfully negotiated with Kuwait to stop the issuance of entry visa 20 to all Sierra Leone nationals wanting to become maids out in Kuwait. This move, many say, will help save Sierra Leonean women going there innocently only to meet up bitter hostilities they were not prepared for.
"Ernest Bai Koroma, the protector of Sierra Leone women has found another way once again to protect our women," said Adikali Bai Daramy a gender rights activist last evening.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation
Freetown, Republic of Sierra Leone
GOVERNMENT OF KUWAIT STOPS THE ISSUANCE OF ENTRY VISA 20 TO SIERRA LEONE NATIONALS
(MFAIC Press Office, 8th August, 2017). Following concerns raised by the Government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation over the issuance of entry visas under Article 20 (Domestic Labour of Kuwait) to Sierra Leone nationals to work as house maids in the State of Kuwait, which has led to an influx of our nationals into Kuwait, thus creating serious problems and embarrassment to the government; the State of Kuwait through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Interior have taken a decision to stop the issuance of Entry Visas to Sierra Leoneans under Article 20.
Accordingly, the General Department of Residency Affairs in the Ministry of Interior of the State of Kuwait has issued Circular No. 140 (2017) effective 23rd July 2017 to all Directorates of the various Residency Affairs informing them about this decision.
|His Excellency President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma of the Republic of Sierra Leone
The Sierra Leone Embassy in Kuwait, in collaboration with the State of Kuwait Immigration Department is currently processing Emergency Travel Certificates for those house maids who have gone through security checks to be taken to the repatriation centre, where they will go through the due process before repatriation to Sierra Leone. The Sierra Leone Embassy in Kuwait is currently soliciting the intervention of the International Oganisation for Migration (IOM) to help in the repatriation process.
It could be recalled the Government of Sierra Leone from 2015 to date have repatriated a total number of 59 Sierra Leonean house maids from the State of Kuwait to Sierra Leone.
|Sierra Leone Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Samura Kamara
In view of the above, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has engaged relevant stakeholders regarding the thorny issues of human trafficking in Sierra Leone, and modalities are being put in place to bring this saga to an end.
The general public is also advised to report any person or persons suspected to be involved in such practice of trafficking our young girls and women to Kuwait to the nearest Police Station or local authority.
Meanwhile, relatives of victims of this predicament in the State of Kuwait are advised to contact our Embassy in Kuwait at Al-Zahra- South Surra, or call: 25243246-25243234 to help the Embassy to trace them and facilitate their repatriation.
© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
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