June 16, 2022

International Domestic Workers Day

On the occasion of International Domestic Workers Day celebrated on16th June, 2014 Domestic Workers Forum, a unit of Chetanalaya invited the Archdiocese of Delhi to celebrate and pray for the Domestic Workers all over Delhi. On the day, Domestic Workers Forum along with the Chetanalaya team observed and celebrated the by organizing an event at Talkatora Stadium, New Delhi. Almost 2000 domestic workers gathered together. In 2011, the ILO Convention 189-Decent Work for Domestic Workers took place in Geneva and since then, June 16 is dedicated to commemorate the remarkable passing of the convention.  The celebration was highlighted with the presence of prominent personalities like Ms. Nandita Das, Actor & Social Activist, Ms. Reiko Tsushima of ILO and His Excellency Benito B. Valeriano, Philippine Ambassador to India and Nepal, whom the only country in Asia who had ratified the said convention.  The crowd enthusiastically listened to the inspiring words of these guests. The programme figured both the sides of the issue by showcasing the video presentation of employers who actually helped their domestic workers in every way possible and acknowledge them as an essential people of their lives offering them an easy life of comfort. The day witnessed a band performance by “Nizami Bandhu” a  is a well-known Sufi Qawwali group in India composed of members of the Nizami family, which has ties to Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya and Hazrat Amir Khusro.

Simultaneously, a Press Conference was also held where Ms. Nandita Das emphasized the need of the domestic workers themselves to speak and fight their own rights aside from the importance of establishing trust with the employers. Ms. Tsushima Reiko, ILO Specialist on Gender Equality and Women Workers’ Issues shared the initiatives of the Indian government on their effort of recognizing their rights through social protection and welfare’ means mechanisms. Unanimously, the panel has expressed the dire need of the government of India to ratify ILO Convention 189 as a step closer and a Comprehensive national legislation that will protect and secure the rights of the Domestic Workers. Testimony sharing from the two domestic workers gives a ground reality particularly on the experiences of exploitation, discrimination, physical & mental abuse, non-payment of wages and linking it with trafficking and how they too are victimized with some illegal placement agencies. Representatives from NGO namely; Chetanalaya-DWF, National Domestic Workers Movement and Nirmala Niketan stressed the need of coming together, collaborating along with all the stake-holders for the cause of the domestic workers. They strongly demand a national legislation, ratification of ILO Convention, fixed minimum wage of domestic workers in Delhi, and to constitute un-organized social security board. The objective of demanding a comprehensive legislation and bringing in light the plight and issue of domestic workers was successfully achieved by this initiative of Chetanalaya.

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