Photo credit: Riley Mccullough

Spike in suicides for African migrant workers in the Middle East

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Ugandan government halts the migration of citizens to Oman due to a surge of suicides of nationals working there.

Now a growing number of Ugandans return to their home country with reports of abuse by employers including rape, torture and long hours of grueling labor. In 2016, a parliamentary report documented the deaths of 48 Ugandans – 34 by suicide – in the Middle East since January 2017.

 Most Ugandans who died in Oman were found without travel papers. It is suspected that employers confiscated them so migrants could not leave.

This report emerges right after investigations showed Subsaharan Africans being sold in a slave trade at Libyan open markets. Africans report severe abuses, sexual assault (both male and female) and being worked in harsh conditions without their consent.

Dr. Sam Omaro, counsellor at the Ugandan Embassy in Abu Dhabi, said the following:

I urge all Ugandans to come forward to the embassy or call us if you have any problems at work or other issues, so we can help. If you have social, financial or work-related problems, it’s good that you share it with a friend or speak to a relative. Don’t just keep it to yourself as it may lead to depression.

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