What We Do
People Forum has gained expertise on the sector of legal research as its core component of proficiency. In cooperation with Ministry of Labor and Employment (MoLE), Department of Prison Management, Foreign Employment Promotion Board (FEPB), Foreign Employment Tribunal (FET), and with several institutions in the support of various like-minded donor organizations it has carried out a number of research initiatives and has published research reports.
Major Research activities carried out by the organization are:
“Effectiveness of the Laws and Law Enforcement Mechanisms to Ensure Safe Migration of Women” was conducted in the financial support of United Nations Development fund for Women (UNIFEM). The research paper was concentrated on analysis of laws and international standards, study on the effectiveness of law enforcement mechanisms, study on the access to justice of victims with the application of study tools such as: study of foreign employment cases, court observation and witness proceeding observation of foreign employment cases. The research activity lasted for one year initiating from 1 September 2006.
“Access to Justice of Prisoners” was a baseline survey conducted in the year 2008 AD in the support of DFID/Enabling State Program. The baseline was done taking 2,214 prisoners as key informants on sample basis. The informants’ prisoners were from 9 different districts.
“Research on Constitutional Provision on Migrant Rights” is a research that studied on the world constitutions in the year 2009 AD in the financial assistance of European Commission and UN Women. This research report advocated on the voting rights of migrant workers enabling equal access on employment and labor migration policy.
“Research on Labor and Immigration Law” is a study of laws related to labor laws and immigration laws of 5 destination countries namely; Japan, Qatar, Hong Kong, Israel and Korea and is produced in the form of booklet in the year 2009 AD with the financial support of European Commission and UN Women.
Baseline Survey in 15 Districts
A baseline survey is conducted in 15 districts from December 2011 to February 2012 in the support of European Commission and UN Women to identify the foreign employment related mechanism and support system available in Kathmandu and in 14 districts throughout Nepal. The baseline centralized to collect information related to labor migration from different organizations working on the sector like; MoLE, DoFE, FET, NAFEA and District mechanisms and organization working on safe migration, recruiting agencies’ status and district level stakeholders recognition on the issue of foreign labor migration.
Fact Sheet 2015
People Forum has published “Assessment on Status of Foreign Employment Victims in Formal Complaint Mechanisms” Fact Sheet, 2015. It was the assessment report of status of Foreign Employment Victims in formal complaint mechanisms. The Fact sheet was published in support of Ministry of Labor and Employment, Safer Migration Project (SaMi) HELVETAS Swiss Inter-cooperation Nepal. It provides general overview on various aspects such as trends of complaints by fiscal year, case disposal ratio, age, gender and ethnicity of victims, educational and marital status of the victims, types of problem faced by migrant workers, ratio of compensation provided by DoFE and compensation provided by FEPB in death cases etc.
Study on Dead Migrant Workers Children Status (Result Scholarship Guideline)
Under the agreement between Foreign Employment Promotion Board (FEPB) and People Forum for Human Rights, the study of the diseased and handicapped or mutilated migrant workers was undertaken in 2013 A.D. People forum has conducted its study of such families’ members of Jhapa, Dhanusha, Mahottari and Dhaging district and recommended the procedure for implementing the scholarship program for the dependent children. The Scholarship Guideline has been prepared and now adopted by FEPB and is in process of implementation.
Study on Supreme Court Judgments- Publication
People Forum has studied the foreign employment cases decided by Supreme Court of Nepal and has published a book in 2072. This book is the collection of judgments of Supreme Court which will be helpful for scholars, legal aid lawyers, practicing lawyers and migrant rights activists.
Study of FET Judgments- Publication
People Forum has studied the foreign employment cases decided by Foreign Employment Tribunal. Based on the study People Forum has developed a policy paper with recommendation to improve access to justice of migrant workers. Selected judgments has been published which are useful for scholars, legal aid lawyer, practicing lawyer and migrant right activists.
Sunsari, Morang, Jhapa, Sarlahi, Makwanpur, Dhading, Chitwan, Kaski, Sindhupalchok, Kathmandu, Nawalparai, Rupandehi, Gulmi, Bardia and Kanchanpur
- Orientation to Government and Private Sector on Safe Foreign Labor Migration
Training were provided to different central level government and private stakeholders, including lawyers on conventions related to safe migration (i.e. International Migration Convention; Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) General Recommendation 26; relevant International Labor Organization (ILO) conventions), and their relevance for the implementation of the Foreign Employment Act and Regulation.
The training was conducted to the key stakeholders of the Government of Nepal and Private Sectors on human rights conventions related to labor migration in collaboration with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). This training has facilitated the development of mechanisms to ensure further advocacy towards the ratification of relevant conventions, as well as better accountability of the treaty monitoring body on highlighting the concerns of migrant workers, especially WMWs in their deliberation and reporting to the treaty bodies.
- Orientation to Local Government and Non-Governmental Service Provider to Disseminate Information on Safe Migration
Orientation programs were conducted in 22 different project districts in which a total of 770 key concerned stakeholders and line agencies participated. Participants including representatives from District Administration Office, DDCs, Village Development Committees (VDCs), municipalities, WCDOs, district police offices, media representatives, Bar Associations, local NGOs, as well as political party leaders, returnee migrant workers and local academicians. The senior government officials from MOLE were also engaged as a resource persons and this contributed for ensuring better response from local stakeholders. Credibility of information was shared and strengthening Government ownership of the outcome of the consultations was also discussed for producing expected outcome. From the orientation, Proposal to establish District Level Coordination Mechanism was discussed and consensus have been developed among the district level stakeholders. Feedbacks were collected from district stakeholders on amendment agenda of Foreign Employment Act, 2064.
- Training to Media Persons
Nepali Media has been reporting on the issue of unsafe migration and have been writing against the malpractices associated with unsafe migration from illegal route basically, Indian route. Realizing the need of sensitizing media persons, one day interaction program were conducted in the Regional Headquarters of 5 Development Regions of Nepal. In the interaction program, 203 media persons (28% of whom were women journalist) from 28 districts were oriented. Similarly, series of interaction program has been conducted in 22 project implementing district.
- Training to CAG Members
People Forum has facilitated for the creation and operationalization of Community Alert Groups for safe migration (CAGs) in 15 districts of Nepal. Thirty CAGs are established, comprised of village development committee (VDC)-level stakeholders including VDC secretary, teacher, police, youth club, women group, migrant workers and their families. Members of the CAGs were oriented about the processes of safe migration and supported to disseminate awareness in the community. Additionally, their capacity was enhanced for functioning as a referral point on foreign employment cases to People Forum Kathmandu.
Two days training was conducted in 30 settlements of 15 project districts. These training were conducted in the participation of total 1035 community members including CAG members from each CAGs. Gender balance was encouraged in the training with more than 42% women participation, 31 % were from indigenous community while 8 % of them were Dalit.
- Capacity Building of Women Migrant Workers
Three-day training was conducted targeting women returnee migrant workers in 15 districts. The training was conducted to enhance their understanding of the issue, especially with regard to women and migration.
Total 1493 women migrant workers were trained on safe foreign labor migration and a linkage with local government authorities has been developed. Out of a total of 1493 women participants, 73% were returnee from Gulf countries and 54% of participants from Indigenous and Dalit community.
- Paralegal Trainings to WMWs to Serve as Paralegals
Since long exploitation of migrant workers are rampantly occurring both in country of origin and destination countries. Several cases of exploitations are registered every month in either place. However, there are very few lawyers who support victims of foreign employment. Paralegal trainings were envisioned because legal literacy among the migrant worker particularly among women migrant workers was very low. The action has facilitated in strengthening of legal literacy level in 15 districts and the training assisted in developing paralegal volunteers among returnee WMWs. This has enhanced the access of migrant workers especially WMWs to the rescue, referral and approaching towards compensation mechanisms.
For the continuous update on the issue related to safe foreign labor migration issue, refresher training was conducted in the year 2013 to the 20 paralegals was graduate in the year of 2009. Paralegal graduates have now been continuously referring cases to People Forum’s Free Legal Aid clinic.
- Empowering Women Migrant Workers
The activity was implemented by People Forum with the financial support of European Union and UNIFEM. 330 Women Migrant Workers from Kathmandu and Sunsari districts were provided training on safe foreign labor migration. Among them 30 active women migrant workers were trained as paralegal. Trainees were capacitated to conduct Awareness Program on behalf of women migrant workers in the community level. They are aware on foreign employment law and legal procedures. They were trained with techniques of drafting FIR and submission of Application for compensation.
Empowerment of Women Migrant Workers project was launched with the support of European Union. The participants have built up their capacity to provide initial advice to possible migrant workers and victims who are facing the problem before, during and after foreign employment. Major achievements of the program were:
- 300 women migrant workers were made aware of their rights,
- 30 women migrant workers were trained as paralegal,
- One hand book on complaint procedures’ in Nepalese context was distributed,
- 5 Booklets with legal information of countries of employment were distributed to migrant workers,
- One policy paper on Issues of Migrant Workers to be Addressed by Constitutional Assembly was prepared and published,
- Constituent Assembly members attention was dragged on migrants’ concerns including then Honorable Speaker Subas Chandra Nembwang
- Orientation to Village Development Committees’ Secretaries on Foreign Employment Act, and Anti-Trafficking Issues
People Forum has organized training to VDC secretaries and Social Mobilizer of Jhapa and Chitwan districts on Foreign Employment Act, Safer Migration and Anti-Trafficking laws. The orientation programs were conducted with the financial support of International Labor Organization (ILO).
- Paralegal Training to Prisoners
People Forum has organized paralegal training for prisoners of different prisons in Kathmandu valley. The main objective of the training program was to provide knowledge about the legal system and judicial process etc. Trainees have been benefited from the training and buildup confidence on referring cases to the legal aid lawyers.
- Human Right Training to Lawyer
People Forum has organized human right training program for young lawyers. The law graduate who wants to come into law practice participated in the training. Trainees have been benefited and given an opportunity about the domestic as well as international standard concerning the human right law.
- Orientation to School Teachers and legal literacy to students
People Forum has organized Orientation program to School Teachers of Jhapa and Kathmandu districts on safe migration. After such program, People Forum has organized Legal Literacy Campaigns in schools on Foreign Employment Act, 2064 and its process for young students of Grade IX and X.
Victims Legal Aid (Legal AID and Paralegal Service to Migrant Workers)
People Forum has been supporting the victims of migration with free legal aid and paralegal services. Major achievement are;
- People Forum has provided legal assistance to 4307 (Till July 2016) victims in their complaint/cases
- 25,88,43,000 NRs provided to victims as compensation through free legal service
- Victims of 71 districts have been getting service
- Enhanced better coordination among the justice agencies dealing with foreign employment offences
- Enhanced knowledge of migrant workers, victims and law enforcement officials on safe migration especially on proceeding of legal remedy
- Advocacy for migrant rights
- Legal research and publications
The Forum has been providing free legal aid to the victims of foreign employment since September 2005. The victims of foreign employment including women, Dalits indigenous and people from poor communities got free legal aid service in course of this scheme. The activity has been conducted on the support of SDC/HELVETAS Swiss Inter Cooperation Nepal.
Prisoners Legal Aid and Paralegal Service (PLAPS: 2007-08)
People Forum has provided free legal aid to the prisoners from the poor and marginalized communities in Kathmandu valley. Under this activity a paralegal officer regularly visits the prison helping out the legal problems and the legal aid provided to those as per the recommendation made by the concerned Paralegal. In this scheme, counseling to new prisoners, legal literacy programs, advocacy for prisoners’ rights and pre-release training to prisoners were conducted in all the prisons of Kathmandu valley.
In accordance to planning made jointly in collaboration with National Legal Aid Network (NaLAN), People Forum provided legal aid and Paralegal service to prisoners of Central Prison and Dillibazar prison of Kathmandu. The project was supported by Department for International Development (DFID)/Enabling State Program (ESP).
People forum has conducted baseline survey in collaboration of other consortium members on access to justice of prisoners and conducted several awareness programs to the prisoners of Central Prison and Dillibazar prison of Kathmandu. It built synergy among the organizations working for prisoner’s right and their access to justice organizing coordination meeting adjoined by different stakeholders and civil society organizations.
- Implementation of the legal provision of keeping Prisoners and Detainee separately in the prison
Different International human rights laws and the Prison Act, 2019 have made provision of keeping prisoners and detainees separately. People Forum has filed a writ petition of Mandamus in the Supreme Court to implement the legal provision that the prisoners and detainees should be kept separately in the prison. The Court has given verdict in favor of applicant and issued the order of Mandamus to implement the legal provision of keeping prisoners and detainees separately in the prison.
- The Claim Regarding Guarantee of Right of Prisoner to Contact Attorneys
The right of the arrested person to contact and take advice from a lawyer is fundamental right guaranteed in the Constitution. The person arrested during Jana Andolan (Peoples’ Movement) was curtailed of this right.
With this view, Mr. Shom Luitel has filed the case in the Supreme Court for the implementation of those rights. Then the Supreme Court has given the verdict and issued the order of mandamus regarding the right of arrested persons to contact and take advice with the concerned lawyers. Supreme Court clearly stated that people arrested in criminal charges should be allowed to consult confidentially with their attorney.
- Claim regarding implementation of legal provisions relating to establishment of Foreign Employment Tribunal/appointment of labor attaché
People Forum has filed the case in Supreme Court of Nepal in 2008 regarding implementation of legal provisions relating to appointment of Labour Attaché, establishment of Safe Home for women migrant workers and establishment of Foreign Employment Tribunal.
The court has ordered the Government to appoint Labor Attaché for a country where five thousand or more workers have been sent for foreign employment as mentioned in Foreign Employment Act 2064. Additionally, the Supreme Court has also ordered to remain active for establishing the safe homes for the women workers who have gone for foreign employment.
- Claim relating to implementation of Prisoners Rights
Similarly, Advocate Shom Luitel has filed the case on behalf of People Forum regarding the issues of implementation of legal provisions on Open Prison and Community Service. The Supreme Court has issued directive order to implement those legal provisions.
Next Writ petition was filed claiming the order of Mandamus or other necessary orders as per the provision of article 133(2) of Nepal’s Constitution for issuing of directive order to provide compensation as per the provision of article 14(6)of ICCPR to the prisoner who has been convicted by initial court and declared innocent by the final court.
People Forum has filed another Writ petition asking to issue the order of Mandamus or other necessary orders to the respondent on the issues of earthquake and its aftershock occurred on and after 25th April, 2015 .The Writ has demanded to provide suitable compensation to the family of diseased detainees and prisoners and to transfer detainees and prisoners of central and other earthquake affected prisons to the secured place.
- Decentralization of Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE)
Advocate Som Prasad Luitel has filed a writ petition on behalf of People Forum for the implementation of Foreign Employment Act 2064 demanding to issue the order of Mandamus or other orders necessary in the name of respondent .The Writ petitioner has requested to decentralize the investigation mechanism and related process to the region or district level of the country, to establish benches and assure representation of parties by lawyer for those cases that is to be heard and decided by Department of Foreign Employment, to promptly follow the summary procedure to Foreign Employment cases and to work for bringing perpetrator of foreign employment offences within the legal boundaries.
- Bilateral Agreement
Advocate Shom Prasad Luitel has also filed a writ petition on behalf of People Forum demanding to issue the order of Mandamus or other orders necessary to the respondent .The writ has requested to the court to issue order to the government to open the countries of foreign employment only after conducting studies or exploring of international labor market and making bilateral labor agreement and to sign bilateral agreement with those counties where already workers has been sent.
1.Case Referral Guidelines
The guidelines has become useful to police officers as well as district authorities to get guided on the procedure to refer cases to Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE), People Forum and other concerned agencies for prompt and effective service delivery.
2. Training Manual on International Convention Related to Foreign Labor Migration
Development of the training manual on Foreign Employment related conventions i.e. International Migration Convention 1990; Convention on Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) 1979, General Recommendation 26; relevant International Labor Organization (ILO) conventions, which helped to sensitize policy makers, service providers and migrant workers.
3. Training Manual on Paralegal
Paralegal training manual was developed to support trainers on the issue of safe foreign labor migration and it focused on concept of paralegal as well as legal provisions on foreign employment laws.
4. Information Kit on International Convention Related to Foreign Labor Migration
Information kit was developed on Foreign Employment related conventions i.e. International Migration Convention 1990; Convention on Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) 1979; relevant International Labor Organization (ILO) conventions, and their relevance for the implementation of the Foreign Employment Act and Regulation. Information kit was aimed to sensitize community level stakeholders and migrant workers on their rights.
5. Information Booklet on Foreign Employment
People Forum has published information booklet in question answer form relating to the legal and frequently occurring social problems and relevant information especially; for the migrant workers.
6. Pravash Diary
1,50,000 copies of the information booklet named “Pravash Diary” are distributed to migrant workers at the time of pre-departure orientation trainings through FEPB and FEONA. The diary was specific, attractive, user-friendly and informative which contains information of safe migration process.
7. Complaint Procedure Handbook
People forum has published a Hand Book relating to the procedural information of remedy especially; for the victims. The Hand Book covers the legal process relating to foreign employment cases. It also acts as drafting guideline of various kinds of legal documents.
8. Legal information Booklets for Migrant Workers
People Forum has prepared legal information booklets of five destination countries namely; Israel, Quarter, Hong Kong, Korea and Japan that consists of fundamental labor rights, labor law/immigration law of countries of employment and other useful information for migrant workers. The booklets have been distributed to women migrant workers through Department of Labor and Employment Promotion.
9. Supreme Court Judgments
People Forum has published a book of the decision made by the Supreme Court of Nepal on foreign employment related offences, in 2072. This book is the collection of judgments of Supreme Court which will be helpful for scholars, legal aid lawyer, practicing lawyer and migrant activists.
10. Report on Joint Coordination Meeting
People Forum for Human Right (People Forum) has been providing free legal aid to the sufferer/victims of Foreign Employment upon the support of Nepal Government, Safe Migration Project (SaMi), HELVETAS Swiss Inter Cooperation Nepal. In this context, People Forum has also been organizing a various coordination meeting among the Government Bodies of foreign employment, Justice Administration sector with an objective of making free legal aid effective. Prior to this, People Forum has already organized 15 different coordination meeting and those meetings has made different decision for making Foreign Employment Justice effective, fast, steady and impartial. In this course, Foreign Employment Promotion Board, Special Government Attorney Office and People Forum has jointly organized coordination meeting on 5th June, 2015 in office of Special Government Attorney Office. This meeting was organized with an objective of supporting effective management of Foreign Employment Justice system where issues which shall be resolved through the coordination of among the government bodies, the role that shall be played by them for resolving such issues, decision taken earlier and situation of execution was discussed.
11. Other Publication
In addition to the aforementioned list of publications, People Forum has recently published following publications:
- Constituent Assembly – Hand Book
- Research report on Foreign Employment law implementation -Report
- Legal Problems of Prisoners and their Solution – Booklet
- Future of Paralegal Service in Nepal – Book
- Posters on CEDAW and ILO Domestic workers convention 2011 – Poster
- Posters on proceeding on foreign employment cases – Poster
- Media Campaign Report – Compilation Report
- Brochures on Constituent Assembly, Legal Aid and Paralegal Service, Open Prison and Community Service in Nepal and other legal issues.