Sunday, November 14, 2010

More than 20 nails

By Pushpa Kumara Jayaratne

The Government has called for a full report from Sri Lanka ’s envoy in Kuwait City in connection with the second case of an alleged nailing of a housemaid by her Arab employer in that country, a senior official said yesterday.

Letchumi in hospital

External Affairs Minitry’s Consular Affairs director Somadasa Wijeysundera said a report was expected in Colombo tomorrow and thereafter follow up action would be taken. He said Sri Lanka ’s envoy K.S.C. Dissanayake has already taken up the matter with Kuwaiti authorities and was expected to provide a feed back to Colombo .

The victim- V. R. Letchumi 30, a resident of Ibbagamauwa Gokarella had alleged that her employer and two other members of the family had repeatedly inserted nails into her body when she asked about her wages.Doctors operating on the victim at the Kurunegala Hospital have already removed nine nails from her right hand and left foot. X-rays and scans show there are at least another 14 such objects in her body and these will be removed in the coming days, hospital officials say.

sunday Times

Saudi King responds to plea for Rizana

Sunday Times

Saudi King responds to plea for Rizana
By Leon Berenger

Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has directed officials to hold talks with the household in which a Sri Lankan female domestic is alleged to have murdered a toddler in her charge as discreet diplomatic efforts were underway to secure her release, a senior official said yesterday.

The maid-Rizana Razeek has been placed on death row after Saudi Arabia ’s highest court found her guilty of smothering the child to death. The maid has denied the charges saying that the child had choked during a milk feed.

The External Affairs Ministry’s Consular Chief Somadasa Wijeysundera said the King was responding to President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s appeal seeking clemency for Rizana. Apart from the King, the dead child’s parents could also give a pardon or settle for blood money, Mr. Wijeysundera said.

Meanwhile several other diplomatic efforts have been stepped up both in Riyadh and other foreign capitals to gather support for the release of the maid, he added. “Our envoys in several countries both in the West and elsewhere are working closely with those respective countries towards this end. The response is encouraging but the process is slow because it needs a lot of diplomatic patience and understanding,” he said.

According to reliable information even Britain ’s Prince Charles is reported to have approached the Saudi Royal family seeking clemency for Rizana.

Sun, 14 November,

Maid tortured in Jordan

Daily Mirror - Novembere 15, 2010

Sri Lanka is probing allegations that one of its nationals employed in Jordan was forced to swallow nails, in the third case involving alleged torture in three months.

A housemaid identified as D M Chandima has told the Sri Lankan diplomatic mission in Amman that her employer forced her to swallow six nails, an official at the Foreign Employment Bureau of Sri Lanka said on Sunday.

"We are awaiting a full report from doctors," said the head of the bureau, Kingsley Ranawaka, adding that the authorities would decide on the next steps after looking at the medical evidence.

The report came as another Sri Lankan housemaid who had been working in Kuwait accused her employer of driving 14 wire nails into her body as punishment for failing in her work.

The woman, identified only as Lechchami, 38, underwent surgery to have the nails removed after returning home to Sri Lanka , the director of the hospital in the northwestern town of Kurunegala said on Saturday.

The doctor said the woman had told surgeons that her Kuwaiti employers drove the nails -- some as long as 3.5cm -- into her hands and left leg when she asked for her salary after working for six months.

Police said the case was under investigation.

In August, another housemaid complained her Saudi employer drove 24 nails into her arms, legs and forehead as punishment. Most of them were removed by surgeons in Sri Lanka .

The Saudi government and private sector officials in Riyadh have questioned the credibility of the woman's allegations.

About 1.8 million Sri Lankans are employed abroad, of whom 70 per cent are women. Most work as housemaids in the Middle East while smaller numbers work in Singapore and Hong Kong , seeking higher salaries than they would get at home.

Non-governmental organisations report frequent cases of employer abuse of maids who work abroad.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Rizana is a victim of non existence of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia , continues brutality and lack of international condemnation of Saudi Arabia .

SANRIM as a migrant workers advocacy initiative strongly condemn the failure of Sri Lankan state on substantial legal interventions to save and protect the interest of Rizana Nafeek. We take this opportunity to extend our solidarity with Rizanas family on this sorrowful moment and we are proud of their courage. We understand the entire scenario of Rizana with state irresponsibility and inability of the state to challenge Saudi Arabian Human Rights failures and violation of international legal norms.

The prime argument brought in favor of the Rizana Nafeek case was that, at the time of arrest she was a minor and minors shouldn’t be subject to capitol punishment. SANRIM also question the Sri Lankan state for its failure of challenging capitol punishment use by Saudi Arabian state and continues Human Rights violation and brutality. SANRIM understands that violations of Human Rights and UN Conventions are the prime cause of Rizana Nafeek case. Saudi Arabian state undermine the Human Rights standards ,UN conventions and internationally accepted legal frameworks which Rizana Nafeek became a victim of it.

We also take this opportunity to remind the world that world needs to seriously protest on the brutality of Saudi Arabian state on their brutality towards their own nationals and foreign workers. Every year there are over 100 people are being executed in a extremely brutal manner and many others experiences uncivilized brutality for the crimes that many civilized countries use correctional approach. Many Sri Lankans were executed over the past three decades and in many cases there were no support systems for the families and compensation for the dead.

SANRIM also watching over unconditional international protection that USA government provides towards Saudi Arabia which hindered international pressure over Saudi Arabia on their brutality and Human Rights violations. The double standards that USA practice in international arena continue to provide safety nets to undemocratic states to continue their evil practices.

We urge Sri Lankan people to condemn the Saudi Arabia as a state of Human Rights violators and perpetrators and request USA government to take strong stands on Saudi Arabia . We also urge Sri Lankan government to take this matter at the UN Human Rights Council and challenge the Saudi brutality with the Saudi Ambassador in Sri Lanka .

Lakshan.J. S. Dias- Attorney At Law ,
Chairperson – SANRIM,

Housemaid At National Hospital Alleges She Was Assaulted By Three Sons In Master’s House

•X-rays reveal possible nerve damage in woman who returned from Saudi Arabia
By Ranee Mohamed

Raja Kumari
Perumal Raja Kumari (35) a mother of three who arrived at the Bandaranaike International Airport on November 2 was admitted to the National Hospital in Colombo after she began staggering — suffering from blackouts, bruises, dizziness and pain in the ears.
“My sister arrived at the airport carrying a bag given by an airline. She had in her possession only her passport, her identity card and the mobile phone which she took from Sri Lanka ,” said her brother P. Subramaniam, speaking to The Sunday Leader.
“She could speak to us intelligibly only after she was given immediate medication and a saline drip . X-rays have also been taken and we are awaiting results of investigations to find out whether there has been any damage to her nerves,” said Subramaniam.
A resident of 65/11, Balika Road , Pahala Kosgama, Kosgama, Raja Kumari, speaking to The Sunday Leader from Ward No. 37 of the National Hospital said that she went to Saudi Arabia on April 28, 2010. ‘I had to go to Saudi Arabia because of my mother aged 65 and my father aged 75. I have three children, one of my sons is half-blind. My parents and my children depend on me for support. My husband abandoned me 13 years ago,” she said.
“I worked very hard in the home I was taken to. The Madam and Sir had seven offspring. Of them four sons were married. I had to work in their houses too. I had to wake up at 4.30 a.m. and clean the outside of the home I was assigned to work in – wash the bathrooms outside and then the garden. Then I had to clean the inside of the house and wash the bathrooms inside the house. When the Madam wakes up at 10.30 a.m.
I had to clean the bedrooms. Then I had to wipe each item in the refrigerator and wipe every object in the kitchen. Then I had to help to make the breakfast. The fried eggs and cream cheese and milk were never given to me during my six month stay. I was given one roti or half a roti and a tea for the morning. Lunch was at 6 p.m. and consisted of boiled rice on which a drizzle of tomato purée was poured over. There was never any fish, meat or vegetables,” said Raja Kumari.
Raja Kumari said that dinner was a shaky affair. “Sometimes, they would give me a few bits of macaroni in which there were a few onions and a piece of tomato. But at most times they would ‘forget’ to give me dinner. Yet I worked very hard, not only in the parental household but in the homes of the offspring too. If I cleaned well, Madam would yell at me that I was having eyes for the master and that was why I was cleaning well. If I did not clean thoroughly, she would yell at me for not cleaning well. It was a case of screaming at me day and night. Sometimes she would tell her sons that I had eyes for the master and they would all yell at me and threaten me with bodily harm,” cried Raja Kumari.
“But I suffered all this because of my children. Then for five months they did not pay me. I was begging for my salary. My children and my parents in Sri Lanka were undergoing severe hardship for want of money. I begged my Sir and Madam for my salary, but they did not pay me. Instead Madam would scream at me for asking for my salary. They did not give me dinner for 10 nights. They did not give me a paracetamol for an ailment. Then on October 27 at 10. a.m I packed my bags and walked out of the house while Madam was talking on the telephone.
“I walked to the police station which was in the neighbourhood. At 1.00 p.m one of the sons came to the police station. He spoke to me kindly and asked why I left. I told him about my problems and he said that he will bring me my salary. At 10 p.m. I was sent to the Sri Lankan Embassy. The older son came there and told me that three months salary was being deducted for the making of my documents and Saudi Riyal 750 was required to buy a ticket. He gave me a balance of SR 650. He said that he will arrive on November 2 to take me to the airport,” recalled Raja Kumari.
“He arrived at the Sri Lankan Embassy at about 7.30 p.m. to take me to the airport. The moment I got into the vehicle, there was an immediate locking sound from all the doors. He did not take me to the airport, but took me to the house. The vehicle stopped near the door of the house and I tried to get off and run away. But three of the sons in the house ran behind me and pulled me into the house. Then they locked all doors, grabbed my bags. They took back the money that they gave me and began to assault me. Many of the blows were directed above my neck. One of the shots near my ear made blood spurt out. Yet the hitting continued. There was no pause, they were merciless,” alleged Raja Kumari.
“I hugged the Madam, pleaded with her to make them stop. But she asked them to carry on. The men pulled clumps of hair out of my head. Look at my forehead,” alleged Raja Kumari, showing portions of bare areas in her head. “ One of the kicks from he men sent me flying from one corner to another. They tore my handbag, photographs of my children and my clothes,” she cried.
“Then Madam asked me to remove my clothes and checked my undergarments to see whether I had stolen anything. The men were looking on,” said Raja Kumari.
Raja Kumari said however that she had not experienced any sexual abuse in the house during her stay, but said that there had been times when the Sir had time and again stuck his tongue out at her. “I did not know when and how I got to the airport. I did not have the money that they gave with me. I did not have any money with me. My hair was disheveled. I was holding my ID card and passport and ticket. I got a bag from the airline. There were several housemaids like me at the airport,” said Raja Kumari.
Raja Kumari has made a complaint to the Foreign Employment Bureau and to the Police.

* Sri Lankan migrant workers stranded in Kuwait to return home

Sun, Nov 7, 2010, 10:24 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk , Sri Lanka .
Nov 07, Colombo : Sri Lankan migrant workers stranded in Kuwait are scheduled to arrive in the country today.
The Foreign Employment Bureau has said that 113 migrant workers who were stranded in Kuwait would return to the country. Eight male workers are among the majority of female migrant workers who were stranded in Kuwait .
The migrant workers had sought refuge at the Sri Lankan Embassy in Kuwait after losing their employment.
The Foreign Employment Bureau had managed to make the necessary arrangements for the migrant workers to return to the country following discussions between the Sri Lankan Embassy in Kuwait and the Kuwaiti authorities.

Sri Lanka housemaid file sent to Interior Ministry, another step towards executioner’s sword

Tue, 2010-11-02 07:28 — editor
Saudi Arabia
Riyadh, 02 November, (
The latest reports emerging from Riyadh reveals that the Riyadh Governorate has already referred to the Saudi Ministry of Interior for its observations and comments, the papers connected with the Saudi Supreme Court verdict confirming the death sentence on Sri Lanka housemaid Rizana Nafeek.
In the meantime it is further learnt that even the search by the Saudi Television Channel 1 to locate for an interview Naif Jiziyan Khalaf Al-Otaibi and his wife - the father and mother of the four month old child alleged to have been murdered by the Sri Lanka House maid on 22nd May 2005, so far has drawn blank.
Sources in Saudi Arabia revealed that the Interior Ministry might send in its observation and the connected papers within three weeks time to the Office of the Minister Cabinet which is presided over by the King for the final decision by the Saudi Monarch on the death sentence.
Already Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa on 25 October has appealed to Saudi Monarch for clemency to the Sri Lankan housemaid. Still development on the clemency appeal is yet to be known.
Also Asian Tribune learnt that several ambassadors from the European Union countries based in Riyadh are also seriously considering appealing for clemency for Sri Lanka housemaid, to the Saudi monarch.
Earlier on September 25th the Supreme Court of Saudi Arabia confirmed the death sentence imposed by the three-judge bench of the Dawadami High Court.
After confirming the death sentence, the connected papers were passed on to the Riyadh Governorate. Asian Tribune now learnt that the papers have been sent to the Interior Ministry by the Riyad Governorate.
The young Rizana Nafeek from Muthur, the eldest daughter of a woodcutter, arrived in Riyadh on May 4, 2005, and quickly began work as a housemaid in the Al-Otaibi household in Dawadami, 390 km west of the capital. Apart from performing the daily household chores, Rizana had also been entrusted with the responsibility of looking after her employer's four-month old infant son, which she was not trained to do.
The incident that led to the death of the four month old infant reported to have occurred around 12:30 p.m. on May 22, 2005, while the accused maid was bottle-feeding the infant.
Rizana claims the baby accidentally choked and that she tried to get help; the parents claim she committed premeditated murder.
She was arrested in May 2005 and a three-member panel of judges from the Dawadami High Court headed by Chief Justice Abdullah Al-Rosaimi found Rizana Nafeek guilty of murdering the four-month-old son of Naif Jiziyan Khalaf Al-Otaibi and sentenced her to death on June 16, 2007.
According to reports Sri Lanka has also earlier appealed Rizana Nafeek case to Saudi Human Rights Commission and still awaiting response from them.
- Asian Tribune -