The head of the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (RCCI) Recruitment Committee, Waleed Al-Soweidan, has criticized a report by the US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) on the ill treatment of housemaids in the Kingdom, saying the report is based on only “a few cases in which domestic helpers have suffered.” In its 133-page report, entitled “If I Am Not Human: Abuses Against Asian Domestic Workers in Saudi Arabia,” released yesterday, the HRW called for sweeping labor and justice reforms and for stricter punishment for sponsors who abuse workers. “Saudi families are abusing female migrant workers to the point of slavery and Riyadh needs to respond with sweeping labor and justice reforms,” the report stated. “There are more than a million domestic helpers, including maids, in the Kingdom and it is natural that there will be some problems and disputes here and there,” said Al-Soweidan.
Be nice to maids
Abdulrahman Al-Sadhan; 9/7/08
Like many other writers, I have previously written about the unfair treatment meted to housemaids in our society. The abuse begins with having their salaries delayed for no reason and ends with either verbal or physical abuse. I repeat what I have said previously: Such treatment is uncivilized. We are indirectly harming the image of our country both morally and politically. This is especially the case when the media in some countries view the Kingdom negatively and make a big deal out of this issue. I am shocked at some of the stories that I hear and read about in the press. Such stories prevent people from sleeping soundly; the details are so bad that one cannot ascertain whether they are fiction or fact.
Saudi Arabia to put an end to abuse of maids
Mariam Al Hakeem; 9/7/08
Riyadh: Saudi Arabia has reiterated its determination to put an end to the reported cases of abuse meted out to domestic workers. Ahmad Al Zamil, undersecretary at the Ministry of Labour, said that the authorities had taken all necessary measures to prevent the mistreatment of housemaids in the kingdom. He also warns of taking stern action, including imprisonment, against those employers, who violate their maids’ human rights. “There are laws with provisions of stringent punishment in the kingdom that will be applied in the cases of those employers who are found guilty of abusing their maids or depriving them of their basic rights,” he said in a press briefing here yesterday.
Violence is unacceptable, Indian minister tells workers
An Indian minister has asked workers not to resort to violence to air their grievances after several labourers went on the rampage in Ras Al Khaimah, leading to their arrests. “We cannot accept any kind of violence in the Gulf. I appeal to Gulf workers not to resort to violence,” Vayalar Ravi, Overseas Indian Affairs Minister, told a meeting of his ministry. The incident occurred on Friday when workers of a ceramics manufacturing unit attacked a camp manager and damaged vehicles in protest against the poor quality of food