Ethiopia lifts ban on domestic workers moving overseas

Ethiopians attend a religious festival in Addis Ababa on January 19, 2018. Ethiopia has lifted a ban on domestic workers moving overseas after passing a new law to guard against ill-treatment. (AFP / ZACHARIAS ABUBEKER)
Updated 02 February 2018
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Ethiopia lifts ban on domestic workers moving overseas

ADDIS ABABA: Ethiopia has lifted a ban on domestic workers moving overseas after passing a new law to guard against ill-treatment, a government official said Thursday.
Africa’s second-most populous country instituted the ban five years ago following reports of abuse, and complaints that employment agencies lured Ethiopians into working abroad in illegal and appalling conditions.
Abebe Haile, a director at the labor ministry, said the new law regulates employment agencies that connect jobless Ethiopians with work in foreign countries.
The government has also opened training centers for low-skilled workers heading abroad.
“Taking these preparations into account, this ban has been lifted, so we’re now ready to start the overseas employment services,” Abebe told a press conference.
Ethiopia is one of the continent’s poorest countries and, according to the International Labor Organization (ILO), a major source of migrants particularly to the Middle East, where there were around 460,000 Ethiopian workers in 2013 when the ban came into force.
At the time reports of worker abuse were rampant, including a video that emerged online showing an Ethiopian maid in Lebanon being dragged by her hair in public by her employers. She later killed herself in hospital.
While some Ethiopians work legally in the Middle East, others travel without visas despite having to cross through war-torn Yemen and risk a perilous boat trip across the Gulf of Aden.
Last week at least 30 people drowned when a boat carrying Somali and Ethiopian migrants capsized off Yemen’s coast.
Saudi Arabia — a popular destination for Ethiopian migrants — has carried out mass deportations of illegal foreign workers in the past few years.
Riyadh last year announced it would begin deporting illegal migrants again and Ethiopia’s foreign ministry told state media that more than 14,000 of its citizens have been repatriated since November.
Abebe said Ethiopia has signed bilateral agreements with Kuwait, Jordan and Qatar to govern the flow of low-skilled workers, and is working on agreements with other nations.


What We Are Reading Today: Of Privacy and Power

Updated 4 min 59 sec ago
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What We Are Reading Today: Of Privacy and Power

  • The real dispute was between two transnational coalitions — one favoring security, the other liberty

Authors: Henry Farrell and Abraham L. Newman

We live in an interconnected world, where security problems like terrorism are spilling across borders, and globalized data networks and e-commerce platforms are reshaping the world economy. This means that states’ jurisdictions and rule systems clash. How have they negotiated their differences over freedom and security? Of Privacy and Power investigates how the EU and US, the two major regulatory systems in world politics, have regulated privacy and security, and how their agreements and disputes have reshaped the transatlantic relationship.

The transatlantic struggle over freedom and security has usually been depicted as a clash between a peace-loving EU and a belligerent US. Henry Farrell and Abraham Newman demonstrate how this misses the point. The real dispute was between two transnational coalitions — one favoring security, the other liberty — whose struggles have reshaped the politics of surveillance, e-commerce, and privacy rights. The authors examine how the powers of border-spanning coalitions have waxed and waned. Globalization has enabled new strategies of action, which security agencies, interior ministries, privacy NGOs, bureaucrats, and other actors exploit as circumstances dictate.