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Look who’s complaining

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



However, the number of domestic workers facing abuse in Saudi has been growing at an alarming rate. In 2008, Human Rights Watch came out with a report entitled “As If I Am Not Human” detailing the problems faced by the women domestic workers in Saudi Arabia, numbering approximately 1.5 million. Using numerous case-studies, the report highlighted a range of abuses these workers face including “non-payment of salaries, forced confinement, food deprivation, excessive workload, and instances of severe psychological, physical, and sexual abuse.”

There have been many stories of employers raping their housemaids, of burning them, beating them and torturing them in many ways. Last year, the Saudi government also ran a public awareness campaign to try and curb the problem of maid abuse.

The Kingdom’s Shura Council also amended the labor law in July last year, which stated that employers would have to provide domestic workers at least nine hours of rest each day and suitable accommodation. However, according to Human Right Watch, the law still contains some vague provisions, such as “the duty to obey employers’ orders,” and a prohibition against leaving the workplace without a “legitimate reason.”

The Saudi government should “rigorously prosecute employers and employment agents who abuse migrant domestic workers, and reform criminal justice laws including evidence laws that make it difficult to prove rape and easy to convict for witchcraft,” the body said in its Protection of Migrants’ Rights report in 2009.



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2 Comments

  1. Justice on January 28, 2010 12:08 pm

    Having worked in KSA for seven years (several decades ago) when the population was small and the economy was great, I feel well placed to comment. Even in those days, the abuse of foreign domestic help was absolutely astounding. Apart from the non-stop work schedule of about 14 hours a day (7 days a week), there were well known cases of violence and mistreatment that pushed some of the victims to seek asylum at their respective consulates and embassies. The problem was so alarming, that some consulate buildings resembled make-shift dormitories!?! Although I have not lived there for a number of years, I would be absolutely shocked if anything has changed.

     
  2. Xavier on February 28, 2010 6:11 am

    Natural born liars are just doing this to cover up their barbaric and inhumane treatment to the poor people whose only aim is to work for their family. Until now their prehistoric attitude of slavery is still existing. A rich country without human heart!

     

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