In countries that do not recognise the rights of
household servants, many face harsh conditions
In a case that has made global headlines, the fate of a young girl hangs in the balance as a delegation from her homeland pleads for her life. Rizana Nafeek, the daughter of a Sri Lankan wood cutter, faked her age in order to gain employment in Saudi Arabia and earn money for her family. Only 17, she soon found herself caring for a baby who choked to death while she was feeding him. She confessed to murder but claims it was under duress. Now her fate hinges on an appeal or a 'pardon' from the parents of the deceased baby. 

But the case of Rizana Nafeek is only one of thousands in the Middle East where workers, often from impoverished Asian countries, seek employment with the hopes of supporting their families back home. Working in countries that do not recognise the rights of household servants, their welfare is in the hands of their employers and tales of abuse and harsh conditions are numerous.

On Wednesday's Riz Khan we look into the plight of domestic workers in the Middle East and find out what, if anything, is being done to protect them. Joining the show from Beirut is Kanwal Tariq Hameed an experienced activist on behalf of domestic workers and from Washington DC Melanie Orhant, managing attorney for the 'Break the Chains Campaign' will also join the programme.

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This episode of Riz Khan aired on Wednesday 25 July 2007.

Don't miss Riz Khan live at 19:00GMT, when you can call with your questions and comments. Riz Khan is also shown every day at 00:00GMT, 05:00GMT, and 09:30GMT.

Your comments:

Thank you so much for highlighting this issue. A terrible tragedy that is perpetuated by the shameful indifference of all the nations involved. This whole issue of incarcerating / raping/throwing acid/ maiming / killing of these workers - is the Middle East taking the violence that's been done to them by the West out on those they ... can?
Kosala - Israel

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