Skip to comments.Saudi Arabia, thousands of immigrant workers die from exploitation, torture and alcoholism
Posted on 08/12/2012 1:09:10 PM PDT by bayouranger
Revealed in report by Nepalese Embassy in Riyadh. Since 2000 more than 3 thousand Nepalese migrant workers have died. One in every 162 people.
Kathmandu (AsiaNews / Agencies) - In 12 years over 3 thousand Nepalese migrant workers in Saudi Arabia have died because of their poor working conditions and exploitation. Of a total of 484,701 migrants in the Arab country, the average is 1 in every 162. The shocking findings were revealed in a report by the Nepalese Embassy in Riyadh, which identifies the abuse of black market alcohol a major cause of deaths. Udaya Raj Pandev, Nepal's ambassador to Saudi Arabia and promoter of the study, explains that to withstand the grueling and demeaning working conditions, thousands of workers give in to the vice of alcohol circumventing bans in force in the Muslim country. According to the diplomat, over 30 people die each month due to alcoholism. Many of them come home exhausted, drink and die in their sleep. Another factor is accidents in the workplace.
Due to the severe economic crisis, every year thousands of people leave the country in search of a job. Unlike the Philippines, which has a proliferation of agencies in foreign countries, in Nepal people prefer to start with a tourist visa and find work on site with family and friends. This, however, prevents the state from protecting its citizens in case of accidents in a foreign country, increasing the percentage of illegal immigrants and the criminal business of human trafficking. The are over 50 destinations for Nepalese migrants. Topping the list, Qatar (68.844), Saudi Arabia (44,741) and Malaysia (31,157).
Mahdendra Pandev president of Parvasi Nepali Coordination Comitee, for years denouncing the appalling conditions of Nepalese migrants in Islamic countries, states that "workers need training and an orientation period before leaving the country." The activist urges the government to create employment agencies that force Saudi Arabia and other states to respect minimum standards of safety in the workplace, where in many cases it verges on slavery. Exploitation is worsened by the total absence of justice for immigrants charged with crimes. To date, over 200 Nepalese citizens are detained in Saudi custody awaiting trial. Many of them do not even know the reasons for their detention and are not entitled to a lawyer or an interpreter.
In total there are about 7 million migrant workers abroad, especially in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia. They are employed in construction and heavy industry, but also as caretakers and domestic workers. Many leave the country to feed their families and foreign workers have become a major resource in the economy of the small Himalayan country. With their remittances migrants account for almost 40% of the state budget.
Migrant Worker Rights
Over 8 million migrant workers fill manual, clerical, and service jobs, constituting more than half the national workforce. Many suffer multiple abuses and labor exploitation, sometimes amounting to slavery-like conditions.
The kafala (sponsorship) system ties migrant workers' residency permits to their sponsoring employers, whose written consent is required for workers to change employers or exit the country. Employers abuse this power to confiscate passports, withhold wages, and force migrants to work against their will.
In August Jadawel International, owned by Saudi Arabia's third richest man, Shaikh Muhammad bin Issa Al Jaber, was six months in arrears with salary payments, as in previous years, and managers threatened workers not to pursue complaints in labor court.
Some 1.5 million migrant domestic workers remain excluded from the 2005 Labor Law. As in years past, Asian embassies reported thousands of complaints from domestic workers forced to work 15 to 20 hours a day, seven days a week, and denied their salaries. Domestic workers, most of whom are women, frequently endure forced confinement, food deprivation, and severe psychological, physical, and sexual abuse.
In December 2010, authorities made no attempts to rescue an Indonesian migrant domestic worker who had worked for 10 years without pay and whose sponsors were renting her out to other houses, according to one Saudi woman who informed authorities. In November 2010, authorities in Abha, southern Saudi Arabia, recovered the body of Kikim Komalasari, a 36-year-old Indonesian domestic worker, bearing signs of extensive physical abuse. In September an appeals court overturned a three-year prison sentence for the employer found guilty of severely assaulting Sumiati Mustapa, her Indonesian domestic worker. In June the government beheaded Ruyati binti Sapubi, an Indonesian domestic worker convicted of murdering her employer who allegedly refused to allow binti Sapubi to return home. Courts sentenced another Indonesian domestic worker to death for killing her employer after he allegedly tried to rape her.
Saudi Arabia continued to deport hundreds of Somalis to Mogadishu, Somalias capital, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, despite the acute violence there. Criminal Justice and Torture
Detainees, including children, commonly face systematic violations of due process and fair trial rights, including arbitrary arrest and torture and ill-treatment in detention. Saudi judges routinely sentence defendants to thousands of lashes.
Judges can order arrest and detention, including of children, at their discretion. Children can be tried and sentenced as adults if physical signs of puberty exist. The Interior Ministry said it had executed Bandar al-Luhaibi, a child, in October for killing his grandmother.
Authorities rarely inform suspects of the crime with which they are charged, or of supporting evidence. Saudi Arabia has no penal code, so prosecutors and judges largely define criminal offenses at their discretion. Lawyers do not assist suspects during interrogation and face difficulty examining witnesses or presenting evidence at trial.
From January to October 2011 Saudi Arabia had executed at least 61 persons, including two women and one child, mostly for murder or drugs offenses, but also a Sudanese man, Abd al-Hamid al-Fakki, for sorcery.
In March a court, after only two sessions, sentenced four Iraqis and two Syrians to the amputation of one foot and one hand each for stealing money from a supermarket. One of the Iraqis told Human Rights Watch that interrogators physically tortured him for eight days into a signing, unread, a prepared confession.
Secret police detained without trial or access to lawyers, in many cases for years, thousands of persons suspected of sympathies for or involvement with armed groups, or for their peaceful political views.
In July the government proposed a counterterrorism law that would criminalize infringing upon the interests of the kingdom or describing the kingor the crown princeas an unbeliever, doubting his integrity, defaming his honesty, breaking the [oath of] loyalty [to him], or inciting such [acts].
Prisoners and detainees in several facilities described inhumane conditions. On January 3 Mikhlif al-Shammari, a rights advocate detained in Dammam prison since June 2010, alleged that guards beat inmates. According to his family, guards assaulted al-Shammari in July for his criticisms by putting a chemical agent in his mouth.
http://www.gcchumanrights.org/ is dedicated to improving both working conditions for immigrants and rights of citizens in general in Gulf Cooperation Council nations.
During the building boom in Abu Dhabi in the 90’s it was not uncommon for one construction worker/week to jump down from his place of work.
How many more died every week beside those who jumped is unknown.
Slavery in an Islamic society? Who’d a thunk it?
You’re being sooo negative....
They have tall buildings, fancy cars, sharmutas & islam.
They export oil & jihad for crying out loud.
Brain dead liberals who believe that all evil in the World exists only in America history & affairs?
As if Africa was a primitive paradise that was besoiled by Western powers?
As if Islam is a “religion of Peace, and the peaceful learned Middle East was trod under by Catholic Crusaders?”
The Interior Ministry said it had executed Bandar al-Luhaibi, a child, in October for killing his grandmother.
If true, not seeing a problem.