Skip to comments.Diplomatic Immunity Leaves Abused Workers in Shadows
Posted on 09/19/2009 8:02:49 PM PDT by Saije
When Lauro L. Baja Jr. returned to his native Philippines in 2007, he had just finished a four-year stint as ambassador to the United Nations that included two terms as president of the Security Council... Then a three-month episode from his U.N. days returned to haunt him.
He was sued by Marichu Suarez Baoanan, who had worked as a maid in New York City for Baja and his wife, Norma Castro Baja.
Baoanan, 40, said the Bajas brought her to the United States in 2006 promising to find her work as a nurse. Instead, Baoanan said, she was forced to endure 126-hour workweeks with no pay, performing household chores and caring for the couple's grandchild. Baja denied the charges, saying Baoanan was compensated. He also invoked diplomatic immunity...
But in June, a federal judge in Manhattan ruled that the former U.N. ambassador could not claim immunity because Baoanan's "duties benefited the Baja family's personal household needs, and are unrelated to Baja's diplomatic functions."...
"Only one other case involving diplomatic immunity and domestic workers was able to progress this far," Suriyopas said. Baja's attorney, Salvador E. Tuy, called the charges "untrue." The trial is ongoing.
Workers have historically had little success with complaints of abuse against diplomats. For example, Mildrate Yancho Nchang said she toiled for three years without pay or a day off and then was hospitalized after being beaten by a Cameroonian diplomat's wife. She sued in federal court in Maryland, but the case was dismissed in 2006 when the diplomat asserted immunity.
Advocates and lawyers say that the U.S. government does little to protect workers or hold foreign diplomats accountable. Local law enforcement is often the first to learn of allegations. However, with a diplomat involved, local authorities must wait for guidance from the Justice Department.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
Regardless of what diplomatic immunity was created for, there is no way in hell anyone could not envision its abuse on so many levels, therefore is a bad idea... period.
Totally agree. If you fdon’t trust your host country, don’t go there.