NHRC issues advisories to Centre on issues of mental health, bonded labourers, migrants

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Representative Image
Representative Image

New Delhi [India], June 1 (ANI): The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) issued three more advisories to the Centre, States and Union Territories (UT) administrations calling for specific action within four weeks on the issues of mental health, bonded labourers and migrant informal sector workers, in view of the adverse impact of Covid-19 pandemic.

The Commission, in a letter through its Secretary-General, Bimbadhar Pradhan to the Secretaries of Union Ministries of Health and Family Welfare, Labour & Unemployment, Women & Child Welfare, Chief Secretaries of States and Administrators of Union Territories, has asked for the implementation of its recommendations in the Advisories and the action taken report within four weeks.

These are: Right to Mental Health, Identifying Release and Rehabilitate Bonded Labourers and Safeguarding the Rights of Informal Workers during the pandemic.

The Commission has observed that the issues that arose during the pandemic have led to adverse mental health outcomes, particularly among the vulnerable groups.

On the issue of rights violation of the bonded laboures during the pandemic, the Commission has observed that the second wave has deepened their existing problems, which makes them more vulnerable and easier target for human trafficking.

In the advisory on "Identifying Release and Rehabilitate Bonded Labourers", the Commission, besides the specific recommendations divided into the five key categories of prevention, identification, rescue, rehabilitation & repatriation and legal aid to the district administration, has given eleven specific recommendations to the Centre and State Government and UT Administration.

The Ministry of Labour & Employment should consider immediate disbursement of fund if the procedures are duly followed by the state governments. The district administration should ensure immediate cash and travel assistance to released bonded labourers, post-rescue.

The State Labour Department shall create a helpline number connected with the labour officials in the district, to provide immediate help to labourers in distress at workplaces.

The Chief Secretary may issue directions to the concerned department to prepare a State Action Plan for preventing and rehabilitating victims of bonded labour and labour trafficking during the Covid-19 pandemic, read the NHRC release.

"The Union Labour Ministry and State Labour Departments should update their websites regularly and ensure that data is properly managed with updated information. The Chief Secretary of the State to issue letters to all DMs/DCs and get an updated list of the Functional Vigilance Committees at District/Sub-Divisional level," it said.

The NHRC said efforts should be made by the District Administration to work closely with the Education Department to encourage enrollment of children into schools, to minimize the number of children falling out of education system and into child labour. (ANI)

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