Friday, July 27, 2012

Ethiopia maid kills self in Kuwait after she received divorce letter from her husband

Ethiopia women in the Gulf face struggles from back home and in country.

DUBAI: An Ethiopian maid has killed herself after she learned that her husband had sent her a letter that detailed how he had divorced her in order to marry another woman.

According to the worker’s employer, after the woman received the letter from Ethiopia, she became depressed and had “completely changed,” local Kuwaiti media reported.

She reportedly jumped her death from the fourth floor flat where she worked.

It comes on the heels of an Ethiopia government decision to bar Ethiopians from working in the United Arab Emirates, citing abuse and a lack of government regulations. The government said it was looking into other Gulf countries as well, after repeated reports of abuse have been revealed.

Amare Abrha, a member of the Ethiopian community in Dubai, told that the move taken by the government was positive.

“It is long overdue but, nevertheless, we hope it will reduce the suffering housemaids are subjected to, both mentally and physically.

“Any agreement signed with the UAE should address the need to increase minimum wages and also shelter workers from abuse,” Abrha argued.

One woman, a domestic worker in Abu Dhabi for the past 7 years, told that further discussions are needed to protect Ethiopians already living in the country.

“I know at least two women who have been sexually assaulted, one of them raped, by their employer here, but there is nothing they can do because their bosses have their passports,” she told, asking for anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the comments.

For many domestic workers, life in the UAE can be positive and negative, but across the board, there seems to be consensus to develop an understanding and regulations for workers in the country.