Women workers abused in UAE


From Al Jazeera:

Gulf labour laws fail to halt abuse

By Charles Stratford

Every year thousands of women arrive in the Gulf to take up jobs as domestic workers.

The majority of them leave behind their families on a huge financial gamble to try to earn enough in remittances.

But behind closed doors, in the homes of their employers, some find themselves trapped in a cycle of horrific abuse.

Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford spoke to one housemaid, Mary, who suffered two years of abuse in the United Arab Emirates.

Two and a half years ago, Mary left her family in East Africa to work as a maid in a private house in the Middle East.

“The beatings started on the second day,” she said. “No day passed without beatings. If she didn’t beat me in the day she would beat me at night.”

One day she was ordered to have sex with another maid. When she refused, her employer threatened her with more beatings.

“She said the law was in her favour. Not in mine,” Mary said.

Inherent vulnerability

Simel Esim, a specialist in domestic worker abuse at the International Labour Organisation (ILO), said the workers are simply not protected by labour laws.

“Domestic workers … are excluded from unionising and organising around the globe,” she said.

“[This] kind of economic infrastructure [in the Gulf] has created a huge inflow of labour migration that requires immediate and urgent attention.

“The sponsorship system … The way it is set up, it is bound to fail.

“You are attaching a person’s legal status, visa status and employment to one person as the employer and also the provider of housing, food and health care.

“It creates total dependency and total dependency means total vulnerability and opens the door wide for abuse and exploitation.”

Immigrant Maids Flee Lives of Abuse in Kuwait: here.

Sex slavery of the Moroccan women in the Gulf: here.

UAE men ‘can beat wives if no marks left’: here.

BEIRUT, Aug 6, 2010 (IPS) – Lebanon has a reputation for openness because of the relative freedom enjoyed by women in comparison to other Middle Eastern countries. But many women face rampant discrimination. Women driving luxury vehicles with an Asian or African woman relegated to the back seat is a common sight around Beirut. Most domestic workers come from places like the Philippines, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Ethiopia: here.

Human Rights Watch has accused Lebanese courts of failing to protect the rights of foreign maids who accuse their employers of crimes such as physical and sexual abuse: here.

Asian ‘miracle’ killing women: here.

21 thoughts on “Women workers abused in UAE

  1. Man jailed for five years for sex talk

    Saudi Arabia: The lawyer of a Saudi man who spoke about his sex life on TV reported on Wednesday that his client had been sentenced to five years in jail for the comments.

    Sulaiman al-Jumeii said that he would appeal against the ruling.

    Mr Jumeii insisted that the interview was manipulated and that his client Mazen Abdul-Jawad had not aware that he was being recorded.

    http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/news/world/The-world-in-brief183

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  2. Uppity servants concern MPs

    Bahrain: MPs have called for “strict measures” against domestic servants who run away from their employers to work in hotels and clubs in the capital Manama.

    “Hundreds of Ethipian, Russian, Thai and Chinese housemaids abscond from the houses where they are supposed to work in order to go to hotels and clubs,” declared MP Mohammad Khalid.

    “This is a dangerous phenomenon because it encourages debauchery,” he added.

    http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/news/content/view/full/85532

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  3. Plea for clemency over murder case

    Philippines: President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has pleaded with Kuwait’s leaders to spare the life of a Filipino housemaid who was sentenced to death after a controversial murder conviction.

    Vice President Noli de Castro will travel to Kuwait to appeal on behalf of Jakatia Pawa, a migrant worker who was convicted of stabbing her employer’s daughter in 2007 after enduring years of abuse.

    More than 10 million Filipinos, almost 10 per cent of the country’s entire population, work abroad.

    http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/news/content/view/full/85979

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  4. Plea for clemency over murder case

    Philippines: President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has pleaded with Kuwait’s leaders to spare the life of a Filipino housemaid who was sentenced to death after a controversial murder conviction.

    Vice President Noli de Castro will travel to Kuwait to appeal on behalf of Jakatia Pawa, a migrant worker who was convicted of stabbing her employer’s daughter in 2007 after enduring years of abuse.

    More than 10 million Filipinos, almost 10 per cent of the country’s entire population, work abroad.

    http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/news/content/view/full/85979

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  5. Cleric urges sports ban for women

    Saudi Arabia: In the face of increasing demand to ease restrictions, a senior cleric has urged the Saudi government to uphold a ban on women’s sports.

    Sheikh Abdul Karim al-Khudhair said on Sunday that sports are “corrupting” and “satanic” for women.

    Mr Al-Khudair is a member of the Council of Senior Scholars, which is in charge of the kingdom’s Islamic affairs.

    http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/news/content/view/full/90704

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  6. Bahrain contractors strike

    Around 50 workers at a Bahrain contracting company took industrial action November 28, claiming they had not been paid for up to eight months.

    The Gulf Daily News reported that the Indian and Bangladeshi workers are refusing to return to work until the company pays their outstanding wages.

    The workers are employed as carpenters and labourers at the Ali Bin Ebrahim Abdul A’al Holding Company, Khamis, where they earn BD70 to BD100 (US$186 to US$266) a month.

    One of the workers said, “The company hasn’t paid us for six to eight months… We will not go to work unless the management pays our outstanding salaries. They have already promised to pay us for two months… We have families to take care of and support. We are also facing problems, as we don’t have money to buy groceries and other daily items. We don’t know who to complain to, as the management is not listening to us. We will not go back to work unless we get our money, and we don’t care how long it takes.”

    He said the workers went on strike in October for 15 days, but returned to work after the company paid them two months’ wages.

    http://wsws.org/articles/2010/dec2010/wkrs-d03.shtml

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