News/Saudi Arabia: Asian migrant workers face rights abuses in Saudi Arabia: Amnesty

New Message Reply Date view Thread view Subject view Author view Other groups

Subject: News/Saudi Arabia: Asian migrant workers face rights abuses in Saudi Arabia: Amnesty
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Mon Jul 03 2000 - 15:29:44 EDT


Asian migrant workers face rights abuses in Saudi Arabia: Amnesty
Agence France Presse, April 30, 2000

HONG KONG, April 30 (AFP) -- Asian migrant workers in Saudi Arabia face a
plethora of human rights violations such as flogging, amputation, torture
and execution, which are perpetuated by a discriminatory judicial system,
Amnesty International said Monday.

"Asian migrant workers in Saudi Arabia are particularly vulnerable. They
suffer human rights abuses in silence and solitude with no one to turn to
for help," Amnesty said in a statement.

If arrested, migrant workers are often tricked or coerced into signing a
statement in Arabic which they don't understand, the watchdog body said.

"They are not informed of their rights, nor of the judicial process that
awaits them," Amnesty said, adding they are often denied access to a lawyer
or consular access.

Between 60 and 80 pecent of Saudi Arabia's workforce are fom Asian
countries -- mainly from Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, the
Philippines and Nepal -- often enticed by the chance to escape poverty and
to provide for their families back home, it said.

Most are employed as domestic or manual workers and are completely
dependent on their employers, who often confiscate their passports and
prevent them from changing jobs or travelling outside of their area of
work, Amnesty said.

Of the 767 executions recorded by Amnesty International between 1990 and
1999, over half were of migrant workers and a high proportion of those were
Asian.

Filipino national James Rebebito was convicted of murder and executed in
June 1996. He was held incommunicado for more than two years before the
Saudi authorities informed the Philippines government that he had
"confessed to murder."

Rebebito protested his innocence throughout but witnesses vouching for his
innocence were prevented from testifying at his trial," Amnesty said.

The human rights group also warned that migrant workers who practice
religions other than the officially sanctioned Sunni Islam risk arrest and
torture.

"Christians, Sikhs and members of other religious minorities have been
targetted for holding informal private worship groups in their homes or
possessing religious literature," the organization said.

Filipino Donato Lama was arrested in 1995 accused of preaching
Christianity. He was severely beaten until he signed a "confession" paper,
given 70 lashes and sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, Amnesty said.

Female migrant workers are particularly vulnerable targets of
discrimination, the group added.

Amnesty cited the case of a Filipino maid in Riyadh, Nieves (eds: one
name), who was invited by a married couple in 1992 to celebrate the wife's
birthday.

Spotted in a restaurant by the mutawa'een (religious police), they were all
arrested and charged with prostitution. Nieves was deceived into signing a
statement in Arabic which she thought was a release form and given 60
lashes and 25 days in prison.

Amnesty appealed to Asian governments to take account of human rights
violations when considering trade, defence or cultural agreements with
Saudi Arabia.
Melanie Orhant <<morhant@igc.org>>
__________________
Stop-traffic is facilitated, international electronic list
funded by the Women's Reproductive Health Initiative
of the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH)
dealing with human rights abuses associated with trafficking
in persons, with an emphasis on public health and trafficking
in persons for forced labor, including forced prostitution,
sweatshop labor, domestic service and some coercive mail
order bride arrangements.
_________________
Stop-Traffic archive:
http://www.friends-partners.org/partners/stop-traffic/1999/
_________________

To subscribe, please send an email to
listproc@friends-partners.org
Leave the subject blank. In the body of your message, write:
subscribe STOP-TRAFFIC <Your Name>
Inserting your real name (without brackets <>) after STOP-TRAFFIC.
___________________
To unsubscribe, send email to
listproc@friends-partners.org
Leave the subject blank. In the body of your message write:
unsubscribe STOP-TRAFFIC
_________________________
To send a message to STOP-TRAFFIC, email:
stop-traffic@friends-partners.org
_________________________
To receive stop-traffic in digest form, please send an email to
listproc@friends-partners.org
Leave the subject blank. In the body of your message, write:
set STOP-TRAFFIC mail digest
ListProcessor receives your request, changes the mail status to
digest and returns a message to you about the change.


New Message Reply Date view Thread view Subject view Author view Other groups

This archive was generated by hypermail 2a22 : Mon Jul 03 2000 - 15:33:47 EDT