Body of Nepali woman lying in Syria for 3 mths

- Devendra Bhattarai, NEW DELHI
Body of Nepali woman lying in Syria for 3 mths

May 10, 2014-

Amid government claims that there are no Nepalis in war-torn Syria, it has come to light that the body of a Nepali woman migrant has been lying in the mortuary of a local hospital for the past three months.

Sunita Darji of Sankhuwasabha district, who had illegally reached the Syrian capital Damascus via India a year ago to work as a housemaid, had apparently died three months ago. There is a government ban on Nepalis from taking up employment in the Middle Eastern country.    

The consular section of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) in Nepal was informed about the death very late, said a ministry official.

“Darji’s Syrian employer has agreed to provide the deceased’s family with $3,000 in compensation. However, we are yet to receive consent from her family,” the official said.

The ministry said that the employer had also proposed to provide an additional $ 2,000 if the Sunita’s kin give their consent to perform her final rites in Damascus. It has been learnt that Darji’s husband works in Dubai.

Owing to fear of possible claims over the compensation amount, efforts are under way to reach an agreement on whether to repatriate the body to Nepal.  The Nepali embassy in Egypt, which looks after affairs of Syria, said that it had started a process to repatriate the body.

Meanwhile, the whereabouts of two migrant workers who had reportedly gone missing in Syria for the past two years are still unknown. Laxmi Gurung, 36, and Huma Magar, 39, had gone there on July 15, 2012, through a ‘setting’ at the Department of Immigration in Kathmandu. “Laxmi had called her family in December 2012 upon reaching Aleppo, a Syrian city which borders Turkey,” said Laxmi’s brother Keharjung Gurung. Both of them had gone to Syria as housemaid.

According to the Nepali embassy in Egypt, around 400 Nepalis are working in Syria as housemaids. Media reports said that around 200,000 people have been killed in the civil war in Syria that started in March, 2011, with more than 130,000 reported missing. According to a study of human rights organisations, around 2,000 of those killed in the war were foreigners.

An international immigrant organisation said that some people might have

been taking shelter in neighbouring Turkey, Iraq, Jordan and Israel.

Published: 11-05-2014 07:44

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