MONROVIA – The Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Labour has requested the Omani government to halt the issuance of visas to Liberian job seekers for domestic work in Oman.
Speaking during a zoom meeting on Monday, August 29, 2022, with H.E Humaid Al Maani, Head of Global Affairs Department at the Foreign Ministry in Oman, Liberia Labour Minister Cllr. Charles H. Gibson outlined three key points on behalf of the Government of Liberia for immediate redress by the Omani Government.
I. Ensure that Liberian ladies in Oman are protected while discussions are on-going between the two Governments.
II. Ensure that a response to a Note Verbale from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Liberia to the government Oman is acknowledged and replied to enable a high-power delegation from the Government of Liberia pay a visit to Oman and discuss the issue of the Liberian girls trafficked in Oman.
III. suspend the granting of Visa to Liberian ladies seeking employment in Oman as domestic servants through recruitment by employment agencies.
Minister Gibson informed the Omani Officials that Liberian females are not in Oman illegally because they were granted visa but are being held by their employers in a situation of slavery which amounts to human trafficking.
Speaking further of the ill-treatment of the Liberian females in Oman, Minister Gibson said what is most disgusting is when some of the girls escape from their employers and run to the police for rescue, the very police would turn the victims over to their aggressors instead of providing protection and prosecution of the perpetrators.
The zoom meeting which was also attended by the deputy minister of foreign affairs Cllr. D Gray, largely focus on protection of the victims in Oman.
He informed the people of Oman that every nation has an obligation under the United Nations chapter to protect foreigners within their borders and fringed on the attitude of the Omani government in ignoring three Note Verbale from the Liberian government on the excuse of no diplomatic relationship exist between the two countries.
He said the situation of the girls in Oman is putting serious burden on government and family members.
Minister Gibson used the occasion to inform the Omani Government of recent efforts by the Government of Liberia in rescuing sixteen (16) trafficked Sierra Leonians from their traffickers, ensuring that they were protected, and their traffickers prosecuted and sentenced to jail.
He said they have finally been repatriated to their home country with reintegration packages provided by International Organization on Migration (IOM), noting how a responsible government should behave in the case people being trafficked.
He appreciated the Government of Oman for the Zoom meeting and said that the Government of Liberia was looking forward to meeting with officials of the Government of Oman within the shortest possible time.
Responding, the Head of Global Affairs Department, Omani Foreign Ministry in Oman H.E Humaid Al Maani, welcomed the Government of Liberia request to stop the issuance of Visa to Liberians for domestic jobs in Oman. He blamed recruiting agencies of being responsible for the situation of the girls in his country as well as the media for sending wrong information on the ill-treatment of Liberian women in Oman and thereby complicating issues between the two countries.
He intoned that out of the over five hundred female Liberian workers in Oman, only 26 have reported having problem but expressed his government’s preparedness to work with Liberia to address the concerns expressed by Minister Gibson.
Regarding the request from the Liberia Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the Note-verbal for a delegation of officials of the Government of Liberia to visit Oman, he said the request is a welcoming news that will be treated with urgency.
The Omani Foreign Ministry official vowed to issue the Note Verbal to facilitate the Liberian government delegation travel to Oman.
Several officials of government and members of National Anti-Human Trafficking Taskforce of Liberia were part of the Zoom meeting between the two governments.