NGO IN KUWAIT
MDWinfo interviewed the NGO Sandigan Kuwait on 19 November 2021. The NGO, which currently has 400 members, advocates for the human rights of migrant workers and aims to promote their welfare by initiating reforms and actively participating in labour campaigns. In addition, Sandigan Kuwait supports local NGOs and maintains exchanges with local embassies. However, some African countries do not have embassies in Kuwait, making them the most vulnerable labour migrants. They are not protected by labour agreements between their home country and Kuwait.
Overall, the NGO has created an integrated community centre for all nationalities and addresses many migration-related issues such as labour issues, crime and sex trafficking.
MDW SEEKING SUPPORT IN KUWAIT
Sanidigan Kuwait is approached by MDW seeking support. Especially during Ramadan more MDW turn to the NGO for support. The NGO provides training as a kind of integration programme that enhances their skills (e.g. sewing, financial literacy and cooking). MDWs are informed by the NGO about the laws in Kuwait so that they can stand up for their rights. The interviewee highlight that MDWs should prepare themselves before travelling abroad and starting a new job as an MDW.
Documentation of MDW is considered a "tactical term" as MDW are undocumented in Kuwait and in Arab states. Due to the kafala system, prohibition under the sponsorship system is very different from American and European systems, as the state does not regulate migrant labour. If a migrant worker flees and does not report to his/her employer, he/she is automatically liable to prosecution. The MDWs has five days to report to the Domestic Workers Department, otherwise they will be deported. However, Kuwait has only one Domestic Workers Department, which has only four staff members serving a population of 180,000 documented MDW. Due to the kafala system, Kuwait does not fully aligne with the C189 convention. Some protections for MDWs are in place, but not all. The C189 Convention has been ratified by Kuwait but it is not fully compliant.