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Look who’s complaining
Saudi authorities are mulling a ban on housemaids from certain Asian countries, claiming they are indifferent to the local culture and have been involved in ‘child murders and incidents of violence’. Meanwhile, the number of maids being abused in the Kingdom is growing at an alarming rate.
January 26, 2010 1:47 by Aarti Nagraj
Dharshani’s parents said that they received letters “complaining of ill treatment by the sponsor,” LK Ruhunuge, an SLBFE official, told Arab News. “The maid told her parents she had become sick due to continuous beatings by the sponsor,” he said. “We cannot understand the logic of such treatment since the sponsor also spent a substantial sum to recruit her.”
The SLBFE recorded 330 deaths of Sri Lankan maids in the Middle East in 2009, Ruhunuge told the paper, adding that most of the deaths were not considered homicides. According to the Sri Lankan Embassy in Riyadh, the country’s mission in Saudi Arabia receives about 10 runaway maids a day.
In August 2008, reports claimed that the Nepali government had stopped granting work permits to women to work as housemaids in Saudi Arabia and Malaysia, because of the abuse faced by them in those countries.
This came after Saudi signed a deal with Nepal in February the same year, to directly recruit housemaids from the country. Nepalese housemaids were earlier coming to the Kingdom via India or Bangladesh. The agreement fixed the monthly salary of a Nepalese housemaid at SAR500, and also stated that the maids would be trained before coming to the Kingdom.
“The move comes as an actual implementation of the Saudi national recruitment committee’s strategy that aims at breaking the monopoly of some countries and also to provide citizens with new options in recruiting housemaids with reasonable wages and recruitment costs,” Sa’ad Bin Nahar Bin Badah, chairman of the Saudi national recruitment committee, said at the time.