President demands justice for domestic worker allegedly tortured by her Saudi Arabian employers.
|Members of Migrant Care hold banners that read, “Saudi Arabia: Criminal on Humanity” during protest in Jakarta [AFP]|
Indonesia has demanded an investigation into reports that a maid was allegedly killed by her employer in Saudi Arabia and dumped in a bin – the second case of domestic worker abuse in the country to emerge this week.
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Indonesia’s president, said on Friday that a team had been sent to the Saudi town of Abha to investigate reports of the murder of 36-year-old Kikim Komalasari.
It comes as officials arrived in Saudi Arabia to follow up claims of torture against a second Indonesian maid, Sumiati binti Salan Mustapa, who has been hospitalised in the Saudi city of Medina since November 8.
The 23-year-old’s employers allegedly burned her, broke her middle finger and cut her lips with scissors.
Indonesia’s president has demanded justice for the “extraordinary torture”.
“We will launch an investigation this week for the two cases. It’s not only to seek justice but to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future,” Yudhoyono said.
Muhaimin Iskandar, the Indonesian minister of labour, said Komalasari’s neck had been slashed and she had severe cuts to the rest of her body.
|Sumiati, pictured, was allegedly cut with scissors and burned with an iron by her employers [AFP]|
Indonesia’s president described it as “shocking” and “beyond inhumane”.
He said he was encouraged by the Saudi government’s quick response.
“I’m hopeful the perpetrators will be punished according to law,” Yudhoyono said.
He was speaking to reporters following a cabinet meeting on the need to give greater protection to the country’s migrant workers in the Middle East – estimated to be close to one million.
Earlier this week, New York-based group Human Rights Watch urged Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Kuwait to do more to protect domestic workers in their countries, saying a string of allegations point to a “broader pattern of abuse”.
They were responding to reports that a Sri Lankan maid working in Jordan had been forced to swallow nails. Another maid employed in Kuwait claimed her employer drove nails into her body.
“The wanton brutality alleged in these cases is shocking,” Nisha Varia, a senior women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch, said.
She called on authorities to investigate claims promptly and bring those responsible to justice.
Amnesty International appealed to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states on Wednesday to do more to protect migrant domestic workers.
The London-based human rights watchdog said Sumiati’s treatment symbolised the plight of foreign workers in the region.