Egyptian workers in Saudi Arabia in serfdom

This video is called Abuse of Migrant Workers in Middle East – Campaigning for Rights.

From the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights:

Egypt: When Do Arabian Gulf Countries Cancel the Sponsor System ‘Al Kafeel’?

18 April 2012

Press release

On April 18, 2012, the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) issued a detailed report entitled when do Arabian Gulf Countries cancel the sponsor system “Al Kafeel”? The report documents the situation of the Egyptian manpower in different countries in the world in general, and the Arab countries in particular. The report covered the situation of the Egyptian manpower in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which still uses the kafeel system. The system is criticized by many legal and manpower experts in different countries and labor organizations because of having no connection with the international standards of labor and human rights.

The report discusses how the Egyptian manpower suffers a lot under Al Kafeel system and how their families suffer inside and outside Egypt too. The enormous population increase in Egypt leaded to looking for working opportunities in the Gulf Countries. The Arabian businessmen hired millions of Egyptians in their companies because of their low salaries, in comparison with others from other countries.

The first section covers the legislative frame of the right of employment including different international conventions that guaranteed the right of labor such as the constitution of the International Labor Organization, founded in 1919, the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights, article 6 and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 23 in addition to many other international covenants in connection with the legal basis for recruitment of migrants, covenant no. 97, year 1949, and recruitment discrimination, covenant no. 111, year 1958.

The second section covers the situation of the Egyptian laborers abroad in general and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in particular. This section discusses the problems of Al Kafeel system including the corruption of many sponsors, Kafeels. Many of the sponsors keep the Egyptian laborers’ money in their banking accounts for a long time and that naturally deters them from leaving the kingdom. The report also discussed accepting non-suitable jobs, immediate deportation, changing contracting terms of the laborers after arriving in the recruiting country and high cost of work permissions.

The third section tackles model cases of Egyptian laborers came under human rights violations in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, observed and documented in years 2010 and 2011. Many human rights and political activists, who struggled to cancel the sponsorship system, were sent to prisons, while the Egyptian authorities have been doing little efforts towards saving the rights of the Egyptian citizens abroad. In this regard EOHR tried to provide some recommendations for facing these kinds of serious human rights’ violations, as follows:

– Placing a national strategy for enhancement of the situation of Egyptian laborers and migrants abroad, in cooperation with the Egyptian embassies abroad

– Immediate investigation of the torture incidents

– Calling the Arab countries for reconsidering their labor legislations

– Calling the Arabian Gulf Countries for canceling Kafeel system

– The new Egyptian constitution should mention the right of Egyptians abroad for political participation and voting

– Starting negotiations with the authorities in the Arabian Gulf Countries to allow sending fact finding missions of local and international civil society organizations to follow up the situation of laborers

– Reorganizing the standards of recruiting Egyptian laborers abroad and having agreements signed with the Arabian Gulf Countries

– Reactivation of the role played by the Egyptian labor offices abroad in order to protect the Egyptian citizens’ rights

– Unifying the rules of the companies working on recruiting Egyptians abroad

– Construction of a comprehensive system for taking care of Egyptians abroad

– Establishing of the Egyptian migration fund

– Providing the Egyptian citizens abroad with legal awareness related to their rights and duties and the necessity of registration with the Egyptian consulates abroad

– Establishing a new governmental authority, affiliated to the Ministry of Manpower, to handle the Egyptians’ complaints against sponsors in order to be banned from recruiting Egyptian citizens in the future

– The listed violating sponsors should be banned from recruiting Egyptian manpower for 5 years.

12 thoughts on “Egyptian workers in Saudi Arabia in serfdom

  1. Pingback: Dealing With Disasters And Democracy | Living History

  2. Egypt:

    1) Ilkhwan to pay for their bloc with the army
    Generals sacrifice Mubarak’s right hand to get rid of Islamist frontrunners

    The heavy storm of protest caused by Suleiman’s candidature eventually
    leading to the weakening of the Muslim Brotherhood’s alliance with the
    junta indicates that the democratic popular movement is alive and kicking.
    The massive Tahrir rally of April 20 was not only directed against
    Suleiman, Mousa and other henchmen of the old regime, but demanded also
    the withdrawal of the SCAF – taking up the struggle on the eve of the
    parliamentary elections. While the MB asks for the reinstatement of their
    constitutional commission the Tahrir people demand a constituent assembly
    chosen by general elections and not by the parliament. Only later on
    presidential election could be useful. First the SCAF must go.


    2) Sinful Islamists?
    Interview with Mohamed Wakid on the current stage of the Tahrir movement,
    the role of the military as well as the Muslim Brotherhood and the US

    The US has imposed the MB on the military which has been causing troubles.
    In Washington’s design the MB shall rule and the army shall check. But for
    the brass this is not enough. They want more and that is why they are
    sending angry signals to Washington. The trio, however, needs each other
    but at the same time is harming each other. The longer this conflict
    continues the more it will strengthen us.

    People see the MB co-operating with the SCAF. This perception is starting
    to sink into the masses and voters are turning their backs on them. They
    could loose up to two thirds of their electorate. Only their straight bloc
    will remain. Their hard core is not more than 15% of the population.

    What happened in Port Said is catastrophic and shows the future if we do
    not win. This is the only way they can stay in power – promote incitement
    to fight each other. On one hand the events discredited the SCAF and the
    parliament, but on the other hand there are still enough people to believe
    the official stories complicating things for us.


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