Maid torture report arrives in Kingdom
Monday, 30 August 2010 00:57
The Lankan Embassy received on Saturday the medical report regarding the housemaid L.T. Ariyawathi (49) who was found with 24 nails in her body allegedly driven in by Saudi employers. A video statement from her was also handed over to the Saudi Embassy in Colombo. “We have the report on the domestic aide,” an embassy official said, adding that the mission to take up the case with the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Saudi requesting action against the employer.Although the mission knows the details of the Saudi sponsor, the official said it was no protocol to contact him directly. Arab News tried to contact the sponsor but did not get a response.
“All our actions will be channelled through the Saudi Foreign Ministry,” he said.
Doctors in Sri Lanka removed on Friday 13 nails and five needles from the maid’s body. Six needles in her hands reportedly could not be removed because the procedure would damage nerves and arteries.
Condemning it as an inhumane act on an innocent worker, Kingsley Ranawaka, chairman of the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE), said that the Saudi authorities should wake up regarding such human rights violations.
“Prompt action by the Saudi government will not only give confidence to the rest of the workers but will also stand as a warning against such merciless employers who treat workers like animals,” Ranawaka told Arab News from Colombo.
As a welfare measure, he added the SLBFE was making arrangements to build a house for the maid.
“It was the sole purpose of her going for overseas employment and we want to fulfill her wishes,” Ranawaka said, adding that these workers went for foreign jobs in search of greener pastures to improve their living conditions back home. “Unfortunately, a few end up with such misery.”
Ranawaka said that last year around 35,000 housemaids came to the Kingdom and 17,000 had already come during the first of the current year.
The state-run radio in Colombo said the chairman of the National Insurance Fund Senaka Abeygunasekera visited the patient at the hospital Friday and awarded the first insurance installment of 100,000 rupees (SR 3,300). Another 250,000 rupees (SR 8,200) will be given to her shortly.
In a related development, the incident of the tortured housemaid had caused panick among the new housemaids who are scheduled to arrive in the Kingdom.
A job agent in Colombo told Arab News on Friday that he had 10 housemaids ready to be dispatched to Riyadh for employment but now they are hesitating to come to the Kingdom because of this alarming news of human torture.
“This is going to affect our trade,” said the agent, who wished to remain anonymous.