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Sri Lankan report claims that around 40 young housemaids die each month in Saudi Arabia

A HORRIFYING claim that the bodies of around 40 Sri Lankan housemaids are returned each month from Saudi Arabia after they died of unnatural causes is contained in a report in the Sri Lankan Guardian.

Writing for the newpaper, Fr J C Pieris said:

That is more than one body a day. Our house maids in the Middle East are not moribund old grannies. They are mostly young women. These are certainly not natural deaths. This is like body bags brought back from a war front. It is not a war front but more like a slaughter house.

Our women, daughters of Mother Lanka, citizens by descent of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka are being mercilessly used, abused, tortured and butchered by moneyed but illiterate, inhuman, uncivilized, savage Bedouins. What is Sri Lanka doing about it? NOTHING! Shame on all of us!

Pieris, who slammed religious leaders, politicians, trade unions and women’s rights groups for not taking action to stop women from becoming “slaves and playthings of cruel sub-humans in the Hell of the Middle East” added:

Our legislators must pass a law immediately prohibiting sending women to the Middle East as domestic workers, as house maids.

The report comes a couple of months after worldwide outrage was expressed over the execution in Saudi Arabia of 24-year-old Rizana Nafeek, who allegedly killed a child in her care.

Demonstrators in Colombo protest against the execution of Rizana Nafeek. Photograph: Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters

Demonstrators in Colombo protest against the execution of Rizana Nafeek. Photograph: Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters

At the time the UK Guardian reported that the execution highlighted the plight of foreign workers in the Islamic kingdom, and revealed that many foreign maids were facing execution.

It added that Indonesians are believed to account for the majority of those facing a death sentence. Human rights groups say 45 Indonesian women are on death row, and five have exhausted the legal process.

Figures for other nationalities, said the Guardian, are harder to come by. Rights groups say they believe there are also Sri Lankan, Filipina, Indian and Ethiopian maids facing the death penalty.

Nafeek’s execution drew condemnation from Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, both of which have campaigned against the death penalty in Saudi Arabia. They say many migrant domestic workers, drawn to the Middle East by the prospect of employment with well-off families, face abuse.

Said Nisha Varia from Human Rights Watch:

Some domestic workers find kind employers who treat them well, but others face intense exploitation and abuse, ranging from months of hard work without pay to physical violence to slavery-like conditions.

There are about 1.5 million foreign maids in Saudi Arabia, including about 375,000 Sri Lankans.

In January, it was reported here that, in a single week, three housemaids – two Ethiopians and an Indonesian – hanged themselves in their employers’ homes in Riyadh because of the abuse they suffered.

In 2010 a video was posted on YouTube detailing abuse – including sexual assaults – suffered by Indonesia workers at the hands of their Saudi employers.

Following the execution of Rizana Nafeek, the Sri Lankan government said it would raise the minimum age for female domestic workers to be eligible to seek employment in Saudi Arabia to 25 years from the present 21 with an eye on eventually stopping such employment altogether.

Hat tip: Great Satan & BarrieJohn

17 Responses to “Sri Lankan report claims that around 40 young housemaids die each month in Saudi Arabia”

  1. barriejohn says:

    Saudi Arabia: a shining example of what one can expect of a fundamentalist Islamic state!

    http://www.amnesty.org.uk/news_details.asp?NewsID=20674

  2. Broga says:

    I don’t think this is of any interest to the UK government for the following reasons:

    1. Saudi Arabia buys lots of armaments from us and lots of UK citizens, not least politicians, are doing very nicely, thank you;

    2. Prince Charles is friendly with Saudi Arabia;

    3. The victims are poor, defenceless and non white;

    4. The UK, and particularly the BBC, are totally absorbed in flattering Frankie and Co and have no time or money to spare on these poor, suffering, victims;

    5. We need Saudi Oil so we musn’t upset them.

  3. James says:

    It is the feminists, the left, Shamnesty Internationa, the anti-apartheid movement, and the anti-slavery movements who should be castigated. While they are quite, of course the UK government says nothing.

    The UN wrote a report on slavery in 1951, which concluded that 1 in 20 people in Saudi Arabia and Yemen were slaves. The US and the USSR were trying to get to the moon, and the heart of the islamic world was still practising 1300 years of slavery. If people knew and understood that, they would have a good idea of what the attitude of the muslims in the Gulf was to this kind of imported (slave) labour.

    The anti-slavery movement is silent about the 600,000 black africans kept as slaves in muslim Mauritania. They were also silent about the arabic raiding parties who went from northern into southern (christian) Sudand to take slave. They only ever cared about white people taking slaves.

    The anti-aparthed movement closed down once white people were no longer guilty of apartheid. They don’t care that there is gender and religious apartheid across the islamic world.

    Our own feminist and leftists in Britain are utterly silent about 9 y.o. muslim girls being sold off & raped in the heart of trendy London. http://www.islingtontribune.com/news/2012/jan/islington-girls-forced-marriage-age-nine

    If they don’t care about these issues, of course they don’t care about all these dead (slave) labourers.

  4. barriejohn says:

    James: The Arab slave trade is virtually ignored – and present-day slavery is merely glossed over. If you google “child brides” you get more cases than you can shake a stick at:

    http://savageinfidel.blogspot.co.uk/2010/04/13-year-old-muslim-bride-tied-up-on.html

    And how about FGM, which is an outrage? As you say, it is their “culture”, and we have no right to criticise them!

  5. charlie says:

    Broga,
    All you say about the UK/Saudi love fest applies equally to the old US of A. My(??) gummint is also very silent on this and what passes as the media here in ‘Merikkka is beyond shame with their silence about this modern slave trade.
    Gandhi is supposed to have said in reply to being asked what he thought of Western civilization; “It would be a good idea” or something close to that. He was right in my opinion.
    The “West” is so selective in its fake outrages. Words fail me.

  6. Broga says:

    @charlie: I’ve just finished reading a book about the search for the source of the Nile. David Livingstone, explorer extraordinary but less successful as a missionary – he converted one person – was appalled by the practice of slavery. Reading the accounts from 150 years ago I can’t see we have made much progress. The abuse of human beings as slaves is sickening but it still goes on – including in the good old self righteous UK.

  7. Great Satan says:

    The sooner our scientists come up with an oil alternative the better – maybe producing it from sewage,kitchen & garden waste etc – then we won’t have to give any more of our hard earned cash to these extortionate toe-rage anymore.
    The atheist blogger Martin Willet did a good vid on the muslim involvement in the slave trade ; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLrJqes7FSQ

  8. T says:

    Saudi Arabia – is an absolute disgrace to humanity. A shining example of what the combination of fundamentalist islam and easy money can achieve. I hope that when the oil runs out the civilised world remembers the criminality, the hatred, the intolerance, the sponsorship of terrorism and all the other bile exported by this contemptible country. With luck it will revert to the impoverished sand pit it once was and would still be had it not been for geological good fortune.

  9. Stonyground says:

    I am currently reading ‘The Better Angels of our Nature’ by Stephen Pinker. This is a very well researched and readable book that has the potential to change your entire worldview. The fact is, we in the West only abandoned the cruelty and barbarism that is so common in the Islamic world, very gradually, over the last few hundred years. Nevertheless, we have moved on, and we should be proud of the fact that we have. The fact that we don’t do enough to discourage such practices in backward cultures is a valid criticism but we are at least trying to lead the way.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Better-Angels-Our-Nature-Violence/dp/0141034645/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1363811002&sr=1-1

  10. Daz says:

    Look, it’s quite simple:

    1: A country has no resources we want. In this case, their human-rights violations are of no interest, unless they attack us or other countries which are selling us resources. At which point, such violations will be found to exist.

    2: A country has resources we want and are happy to trade with us. In this case, they commit no human-rights violations. (And if their heads of state visit our shores, our police will be used to make sure they see nothing nasty, like people protesting human-rights violations; which don’t exist anyway.)

    3: A country has resources we want, but won’t trade with us, is competing with our own interests elsewhere or is in some other way being obstructive to our right to make money. In this case, they are either funding terrorists, harbouring terrorists or committing human-rights violations by the score.

  11. Broga says:

    @Stonyground: The theme of the Stephen Pinker book makes sound historical sense. The further we go back in UK history the more cruel and violent we are seen to be. There is also a gratuitous cruelty that is absent today. Tormenting people and animals was a common entertainment. In the Nile book I am reading an English officer has an African flogged to death. Extreme but the cruelty is persistent and often casual.

  12. Stonyground says:

    @Daz
    The fact that you and I see this stuff as a problem represents progress. Not so long ago, people looked only to their own interests and didn’t give a stuff about who was being exploited, as long as the stuff that they wanted to buy was cheap, in fact most of us still do, but we do express concern, and this is a start.

    Is it not also a fact of life that societies have to go through a period of grim exploitation in order to progress toward the kind of modern society that we enjoy? In the mean time, we try our best to help out in Africa, is it possible that we are perpetuating the misery there with our good intentions?

  13. Matt Westwood says:

    @T: “Saudi Arabia – is an absolute disgrace to humanity. A shining example of what the combination of fundamentalist islam and easy money can achieve. I hope that when the oil runs out the civilised world remembers the criminality, the hatred, the intolerance, the sponsorship of terrorism and all the other bile exported by this contemptible country.”

    I completely agree. I spent 2 years there (would have been 3 but I was kicked out for dealing dope with the locals – we had superb bush, they had a source of exquisite black). They were the laziest, most argumentative, untrustworthy, pointless wastes of space the world has ever seen.

    I exaggerate a little. There were some civilised ones. One of my trainees had a brain on him that thought: what’s going to happen when the oil runs out? What transferrable skills does one need? and got me to teach him French. He also expressed envy of our western lifestyles whereby our teenagers go out to work to earn a bit of pocket money and learn what work’s all about: “We’ve got Filipinos and Indians and Americans and Brits to do all our work for us – we won’t have a chance” was his worry.

    I often wonder what happened to him.

  14. James says:

    “One of my trainees had a brain on him that thought: what’s going to happen when the oil runs out?”

    At a UN conference in Bangkok a few years back, the Saudi representative put them on warning that they would be looking for the rest of the world to support them when the oil runs out. That he stated this at a conference, and that Saudi Arabia is now drilling off-shore in the Gulf itself, makes me think this will be far sooner than people realise.

  15. L.Long says:

    The USA will not get involved with this because our gov’mint has really important stuff to do, like make sure the rich do not get taxed and that the gays do not get any rights. And don’t forget we are a xtian nation so wimen (the source of all evil) don’t count for schite, so who cares about a few dead ones. We have 11000 attacked every year and do nothing for them either.

  16. Marky Mark says:

    (Saudi Arabia: a shining example of what one can expect of a fundamentalist Islamic state!)
    …and the Christians are just as bad here in the US. The good thing is they will be fighting amongst themselves first, their many variations of Christianity.
    The rich Christians believe god chose them to be rich and everybody else to be poor and serve them…why they have no problem abusing other humans.

    (Prince Charles is friendly with Saudi Arabia;)
    So was the Bush family…I’m sure that Charles has investments in oil with them as the Bush family does.