Urgent plea to repatriate thousands of stranded Ugandans from the Middle East

Urgent plea to repatriate thousands of stranded Ugandans from the Middle East

4 September 2022
Signatures: 164Next Goal: 200
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Why this petition matters

Started by StandUp Uganda



Date: 20th-08-2022.

1.1: Preamble: We the undersigned Ugandan and Global citizens state as follows;


Deeply concerned about the persistent ongoing trafficking of young Ugandans in the name of jobs abroad in UAE;

Aware THAT, Ugandan migrant workers are being held in detention centers as well as prisons in the different Middle East countries, that is, UAE (Al Awil), Saudi Arabia (Al Malaz, Kharige), Bahrain, Jordan, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Lebanon and Syria;

Further concerned that deplorable conditions under which these Ugandans live and work totally contravene Article 24 and 25 of the 1995 Constitution ( as amended);

THEREFORE, petitioners call upon Parliament to promptly intervene and cause the repatriation of these persons to Uganda:

2. The Problem Statement: There are many Ugandan migrant workers in distress in the holding/detention centers as well as prisons in the different Middle East countries. The exact numbers are not known but there are, for example, about 3000 persons in Al Awil Holding Centre, Dubai, according to sources that are corroborated by Hon Nkunyingi Muwadda - Shadow Minister, Foreign Affairs, based on a visit he conducted on the 18th-08-2022.


The Kafala system that is meant to regulate labor in the Middle East is exploitative and predatory. The labour externalization policy which started in 2005 with the objective of creating jobs has sadly morphed into human trafficking which the current regulatory frameworks as superintended by the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development have failed to curb. Labour externalization should be about human resource management, however, because of gaps in the implementation of this policy, there are many challenges, for example, Ugandans being sold into modern day slavery.


3.Justification for action: According to the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery report (March, 2022),  89% of Ugandans recruited and deployed to the Middle East between 2019-2021, were subjected to conditions consistent with definitions of human trafficking, for example, unethical recruitment conditions (no written contract, a worker doing  99-120 hours/week) and exploitation of workers.


4. Call to action:

We demand

that the government streamlines the labour externalization policy through a parliamentary bill that addresses the gaps as well as some of the following recurrent problems.


●       Immediate repatriation of all immigrant workers in different holding/detention centres as well as intervention and resolution of cases of Ugandans in prisons in the Middle East.

●       Renegotiation  of the salaries of migrant workers to build in safeguards and enforce international labour laws, including provisions for minimum wage and social protection.

●       Stopping the illegal human organ extraction.

●       Stopping the abuse, torture and exploitation of workers as well as ensuring that the perpetrators of these crimes are  charged and prosecuted, whether in Uganda or the host countries.

●       Regulating recruitment agencies and ensuring compliance of agreed guidelines.

●       Ensuring that the recruitment of migrant workers, in particular, domestic service workers, meets ethical recruitment practices as well as minimum qualifications to avoid deploying illiterate or semi-illiterate workers which inevitably puts them at risk of underperformance or labour dispute.

●       Ensuring that migrant workers are trained in protecting their rights and promoting their welfare as well as getting information about how to log on/record complaints without risk for retaliation from the employer or recruitment agency or any other party.

●       Ensuring that bilateral and multilateral agreements are strong, mutually beneficial and guarantee as well as safeguard the rights and welfare of Ugandan migrant workers.

●       Ensuring that the migrant workers have basic benefits including health, disability, insurance as part of their welfare requirement that guarantees compensation in case of injury and repatriation in case of death or contract expiry.

●       The government/ministry should ensure that there are mandatory site visits for verification of workers’ contracts, resolution of complaints and labour disputes as well as compliance of the terms and conditions of the contracts by the respective stakeholders.

●       There should be Consular Officers/Labour Attaches to service the needs of the labour immigrants. They are to monitor the treatment of Ugandans, address the labour disputes, defective contracts as well as provide shelter to migrants in distress.


Human trafficking is modern day slavery and is a crime against humanity. We condemn it in the strongest terms.


We, the citizens of Uganda reaffirm that the constitution (Article 25) protects migrant workers against slavery, servitude and forced labour.


We, therefore, demand the protection of the rights and welfare of migrant workers but above all, the punishment and prosecution of perpetrators of human trafficking.


Friends to Uganda &

Concerned and Suffering Citizens of Ugandans.


























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Signatures: 164Next Goal: 200
Support now