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11 Dez 2023

Chinedu Okafor, Business Insider Africa

Malawi: Activists call on government to ensure the safety of the labourers exported to Israel & make public the details of the labour export deal between the two countries

‘Hundreds of labourers from Malawi have left for Israel despite the war’ 29 November 2023

The Labor ministry of Malawi disclosed on Monday that several of the country’s men have left for Israel, despite Israel’s ongoing conflict with Hamas, to work on desolate farms left empty because of the war. Israel and Hamas have been in a bloody conflict since October, and economic sectors in the region are beginning to bear the brunt. The flight which had 221 passengers left for Israel on Saturday, with the prospect of more Malawians following suit, as reported by the Tanzanian news publication, The Citizen. Undeterred by the current state of affairs in the Middle Eastern region, Malawians have decided to lend their services to Israel to help bolster its deteriorating agricultural sector.

Malawi’s Secretary of Labor Wezi Kayira noted that there has already been a labour export program put in place which would aid in alleviating poverty for some of its citizens and also boost its foreign reserves. He also noted that the safety of Malawians is of utmost importance as the labourers would be made to work in locations deemed fit and safe. Activists have called out the Malawian government over the move, especially considering that the labourers left for Israel just 2 weeks after Israel had sent a $60 million aid to Malawi. These activists including the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) have expressed concern over the lack of transparency shrouding the move. They charged Malawi’s government to ensure the safety of the labourers and make public the details of the labour export deal between Malawi and Israel.

Unfortunately, the conflict between Israel and Hamas has left farmlands in the country deserted. For their own safety, farmers in the area have been compelled to leave their businesses, as thousands of farmers have avoided such open fields since the October 7, attacks. A number of these farmers were of Palestinian descent and as a result had their farmer's licenses revoked. Many others were foreigners unwilling to get caught up in the heat of the war. This is owing to the fact that Hamas had indiscriminately attacked the region, and people were affected regardless of nationality. Hamas currently has some of the said foreigners as hostages.