Whose Human Rights?

How far is my home? Where are my hills? Who will take me home?

I cannot breathe here. I cannot live here any longer. There is no rain, no soft breeze.

My body is bruised, my face cut, my honour taken.

This is not what I was told.

I close my eyes and think of home. How I miss the freedom to enjoy time! How I miss my family, my sisters  and the children’s laughter!

I miss watching the girls return from the paddies at the end of the day, their smile louder brighter than any field of rice.

I  miss the long, long walks along the road to fetch water, washing clothes in the cool river water behind our home, I miss…my life.

This is not what I was told.

Our village lies under a landslide. Our men have gone to India in search of work. We women and children  built another village closer to the road where there was no threat of another landslide to bury us. Our days were a struggle to feed the children and ourselves. Yet…we had goats and a river to go to. Then one day a man came to us. He talked about opportunities and a better life.

I was promised money to send home, money to help my family and children. I don’t want this money now. This money has robbed me of my honour.  This money has left me battered, bruised, bleeding. I have been brutally dishonoured.

Who am I now?

What am I now, but a piece of left over meat?

Where are my human rights?


Over the past days there has been a step forward and a step backwards in regard to allowing women under 30 years of age to work in the Arabic Gulf countries. Because of the abuse these young women had to tolerate, the government of Nepal decided to ban all working visas to women under 30. However, the community of Human Rights managed to persuade  the Nepalese government to change that law, allowing young women to be recruited to work in these countries.

Despite all calls for more protection towards these young workers, despite concerns of illegal trading of women under 30, little has been actually done and abuse prevails.

The question remains pertinent and open: Who has the right to bully developing countries into changing laws which were introduced to protect their people? Who among those who work in air-conditioned offices, who do not suffer daily beatings and rape, have the right to defend sending young women from far flung villages to foreign countries where their voices will never be heard, where human rights is just another cliche created by Westerners – Westerners who often have little experience of realities  in developing countries and where/how migrant workers are really treated when they go abroad.

As in so many other cases, cold cash speaks loudly.

The abused, downtrodden, and fragile, remain voiceless.

Abused women become statistics, lost in a grey bank of  memories.  Forgotten in a limbo of no human rights to their name.

Nepal Bans Women under 30 from Working in Gulf States

Nepal: Protect, Don’t Ban Young Women Migrating to Gulf 

Nepal Urged to Revoke Ban on Young Women Migrating to Gulf

Nepal Women Banned from Middle East over Exploitation

Some more Bad News

The Times of India


3 comments on “Whose Human Rights?

  1. Yes, “cold cash speaks loudly,” and it isn’t for themselves that these young women work abroad to earn it. Poverty holds them to ransom.
    Thank you, Ana Cristina. One more voice to be heard.

  2. These young women are vulnerable as young women in many other countries. Their rights of life are taken for a handful of cash. This is not progress nor does this contribute to a country’s development. Yet, those with power and money continue turning a blind eye to the legal/illegal activity of female trafficking.

    My question remains – whose human rights are being defended?

  3. […] How far is my home? Where are my hills? Who will take me home? I cannot breathe here. I cannot live here any longer. There is no rain, no soft breeze. My body is bruised, my face cut, my honour tak…  […]

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