A 56 year old mother whose daughter died in Saudi Arabia due to harsh working conditions and illnesses she had acquired, has dragged government to the High court in Kampala demanding for the remains of her daughter to be repatriated so the family can give her a descent burial.
Through Women’s Probono Initiative (WPI), an NGO offering free Legal Services, the victims mother, Nansikombi Janet, argues that on 2nd June 2019 her deceased daughter, Justin Namubiru (31) was in good health when she was exported to Saudi Arabia by a labour export company called Transcend Agencies International, to provide domestic services.
However, in January this year, the deceased through phone calls to her mother and Transcend International severally complained about the harsh working conditions and illnesses she had acquired and demanded that she be repatriated for care and support back home in Uganda with her family.
Nansikombi says the Company did not honor the deceased’ plea who in February ended up in prison for not working to her employer’s expectations and for demanding for her salary arrears. She accuses the Company of failing to protect human rights of victims of labor exportation to Saudi Arabia.
On 27th March 2020, Transcend called Nansikombi and told her that her daughter had died of “Liver failure” and the company further requested for her consent to have her child buried in Saudi Arabia due to the COVID-19 global pandemic Lockdown but the mother refused saying the company had agreed to send Namubiru’s remains through Cargo.
However up to today only the deceased salary amounting to 7.7m shs has been sent to the family prompting the NGO to petition the High court seeking orders compelling Transcend Agencies International to return the remains of Namubiru Justin within 30 days from today.
The NGO also wants Court to order Government to put in place a law to regulate labour export agencies and to declare among others that failure to provide information on Namubiru Justin was a violation of constitutional rights to information, health, freedom from torture, inhuman and degrading treatment as well as the right to life of the deceased.
Ms Elizabeth Achola, a legal officer with WPI said it is worrying to note that the family of the deceased has never received any formal report about Namubiru’s death be it a postmortem report or a medical form since March when the deceased is presumed to have died.
She also says the covid-19 pandemic excuse advanced by the labour company as why the body cannot be repatriated is not viable since government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs allows entry of Ugandans who die abroad.
In 2018 according to research done by the US Department on tracking in persons, 286 cases of suspected traffickers were reported in Uganda, 63 prosecuted and only 6 traffickers were convicted.