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Fears for workers heading to Saudi

Sen David / Khmer Times Share:
The Labour Ministry wants to ensure Saudi Arabia respects human rights. KT/Mai Vireak

The Labour Ministry is re-examining the sending of Cambodian workers to Saudi Arabia in an effort to ensure the country protects human rights and ensures good working conditions.

Labour Ministry officials yesterday met with officials from the Saudi Fund for Development led by its deputy director Eng Yousef Ibrahim Al Bassam.

Speaking with reporters after the meeting, Labour Ministry secretary of state Pich Sophorn said the two nations had recently signed an agreement that would send Cambodian workers to the Middle Eastern kingdom.

However, he added, the ministry is now scrutinising the decision to send workers there until Saudi Arabia can ensure acceptable working conditions.

“Cambodia will send workers to Saudi Arabia when they can guarantee good conditions for our workers,” he said. In the meeting, SFD proposed the provision of $20 million in loans to the Cambodian government for unspecified projects.

Mr Sophorn said the ministry said it was still lacking human resources and a building for training.

“In the meeting, SFD said they would provide us a loan and they suggested we draw up a proposal,” he said.

Mr Sophorn added that SFD officials had not mentioned sending workers to Saudi Arabia and only discussed the loan.

Two Cambodian maids were recently repatriated from Saudi Arabia when they sought help after being unpaid for 13 years. The Labour Ministry is also looking to repatriate two more maids from the country, but could not confirm when they would arrive home.

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