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Sunday 26th of May 2019
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HRW Condemns Saudi 'Slave' Treatment of Migrant Women

HRW Condemns Saudi 'Slave' Treatment of Migrant Women
Saudi Arabian families are abusing female migrant workers to the point of slavery and Riyadh needs to respond with sweeping labor and justice reforms, a major rights group said Tuesday.
US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a new report released in Indonesia, the home country of thousands of female migrant workers in Saudi Arabia, that in the worst cases the women were "treated like virtual slaves." "In the best cases, migrant women in Saudi Arabia enjoy good working conditions and kind employers, and in the worst they're treated like virtual slaves. Most fall somewhere in between," said Nisha Varia, the group's senior women's rights researcher. The 133-page report entitled "'As If I Am Not Human': Abuses against Asian Domestic Workers in Saudi Arabia," was compiled after two years of research and 142 interviews with domestic workers, officials, and labor recruiters in Saudi Arabia and the workers' countries of origin, the group said. It concluded that few of the abusers were ever brought to justice and migrant women who dared to complain risked counter-charges of adultery, witchcraft or moral degradation. Out of 86 domestic workers interviewed, HRW concluded that 36 faced abuse that amounted to forced labor, trafficking or slavery-like conditions. Some of the cases were horrific. "For one year and five months... no salary at all. I asked for money and they would beat me, or cut me with a knife, or burn me," Sri Lankan domestic worker Ponnamma S. was quoted as telling the rights group. Nour Miyati, an Indonesian domestic worker, had her fingers and toes amputated due to daily beatings and starvation. Charges against her employers were dropped despite a confession after a three-year legal process. "Employers often take away passports and lock workers in the home, increasing their isolation and risk of psychological, physical, and sexual abuse," HRW said in a statement. It said Saudi labor laws excluded domestic workers, so many were forced to work 18 hours a day, seven days a week -- often without pay -- for years. More than eight million migrants work in Saudi Arabia, including 1.5 million domestic workers, most of whom send money back home to their families.

source : abna
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