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Nepal’s top court orders govt to rescue migrant workers stranded abroad

Nepal’s top court orders govt to rescue migrant workers stranded abroad

The Supreme Court in Nepal has ordered the government to bring back vulnerable migrant workers stranded abroad amid the Covid-19 crisis after the country barred its own citizens from returning.

Up to 2.6 million Nepali migrants are estimated to be in the Gulf, Malaysia and Korea. Labor rights activists say many have lost their jobs due to coronavirus lockdowns in those countries, leaving them highly vulnerable. The government has banned them from returning home for fear they could spread the virus in a country that has so far registered 30 cases and no deaths and is ill-equipped to deal with a major epidemic, Reuters said.

The top court, ruling on a petition filed by a charity, the People Forum for Human Rights, said on Thursday the government “must take additional and effective steps to ensure the security and good health of its migrant workers.” The judge also required in her order that authorities allow the workers to return or provide help where they are.

Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali said the government was assessing the situation and collecting reports about the migrant workers’ conditions.

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