• Ethiopians Abused on Gulf Migration Route

    Ethiopians undertaking the perilous journey by boat across the Red Sea or Gulf of Aden face exploitation and torture in Yemen by a network of trafficking groups, Human Rights Watch said today. They also encounter abusive prison conditions in Saudi Arabia before being summarily forcibly deported back to Addis Ababa. Authorities in Ethiopia, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia have taken few if any measures to curb the violence migrants face, to put in place asylum procedures, or to check abuses perpetrated by their own security forces.


    A combination of factors, including unemployment and other economic difficulties, drought, and human rights abuses have driven hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians to migrate over the past decade, traveling by boat over the Red Sea and then by land through Yemen to Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia and neighboring Gulf states are favored destinations because of the availability of employment. Most travel irregularly and do not have legal status once they reach Saudi Arabia.

    “Many Ethiopians who hoped for a better life in Saudi Arabia face unspeakable dangers along the journey, including death at sea, torture, and all manners of abuses,” said Felix Horne, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The Ethiopian government, with the support of its international partners, should support people who arrive back in Ethiopia with nothing but the clothes on their back and nowhere to turn for help.”

    Human Rights Watch interviewed 12 Ethiopians in Addis Ababa who had been deported from Saudi Arabia between December 2018 and May 2019. Human Rights Watch also interviewed humanitarian workers and diplomats working on Ethiopia migration-related issues.

    The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates as many as 500,000 Ethiopians were in Saudi Arabia when the Saudi government began a deportation campaign in November 2017. The Saudi authorities have arrested, prosecuted, or deported foreigners who violate labor or residency laws or those who crossed the border irregularly. About 260,000 Ethiopians, an average of 10,000 per month, were deported from Saudi Arabia to Ethiopia between May 2017 and March 2019, according to the IOM, and deportations have continued.

    An August 2 Twitter update by Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry said that police had arrested 3.6 million people, including 2.8 million for violations of residency rules, 557,000 for labor law violations, and 237,000 for border violations. In addition, authorities detained 61,125 people for crossing the border into Saudi Arabia illegally, 51 percent of them Ethiopians, and referred more than 895,000 people for deportation. Apart from illegal border crossing, these figures are not disaggregated by nationality.

    Eleven of the 12 people interviewed who had been deported had engaged with smuggling and trafficking networks that are regionally linked across Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland state, the self-declared autonomous state of Somaliland, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia. Traffickers outside of Ethiopia, particularly in Yemen, often used violence or threats to extort ransom money from migrants’ family members or contacts, those interviewed told Human Rights Watch. The 12th person was working in Saudi Arabia legally but was deported after trying to help his sister when she arrived illegally.

    Those interviewed described life-threatening journeys as long as 24 hours across the Gulf of Aden or the Red Sea to reach Yemen, in most cases in overcrowded boats, with no food or water, and prevented from moving around by armed smugglers.

    “There were 180 people on the boat, but 25 died,” one man said. “The boat was in trouble and the waves were hitting it. It was overloaded and about to sink so the dallalas [an adaptation of the Arabic word for “middleman” or “broker”] picked some out and threw them into the sea, around 25.”

    Interviewees said they were met and captured by traffickers upon arrival in Yemen. Five said the traffickers physically assaulted them to extort payments from family members or contacts in Ethiopia or Somalia. While camps where migrants were held capture were run by Yemenis, Ethiopians often carried out the abuse. In many cases, relatives said they sold assets such as homes or land to obtain the ransom money.

    After paying the traffickers or escaping, the migrants eventually made their way north to the Saudi-Yemen border, crossing in rural, mountainous areas. Interviewees said Saudi border guards fired at them, killing and injuring others crossing at the same time, and that they saw dead bodies along the crossing routes. Human Rights Watch has previously documented Saudi border guards shooting and killing migrants crossing the border.

    “At the border there are many bodies rotting, decomposing,” a 26-year-old man said: “It is like a graveyard.”

    Six interviewees said they were apprehended by Saudi border police, while five successfully crossed the border but were later arrested. They described abusive prison conditions in several facilities in southern Saudi Arabia, including inadequate food, toilet facilities, and medical care; lack of sanitation; overcrowding; and beatings by guards.

    Planes returning people deported from Saudi Arabia typically arrive in Addis Ababa either at the domestic terminal or the cargo terminal of Bole International Airport. Several humanitarian groups conduct an initial screening to identify the most vulnerable cases, with the rest left to their own devices. Aid workers in Ethiopia said that deportees often arrive with no belongings and no money for food, transportation, or shelter. Upon arrival, they are offered little assistance to help them deal with injuries or psychological trauma, or to support transportation to their home communities, in some cases hundreds of kilometers from Addis Ababa.

    Human Rights Watch learned that much of the migration funding from Ethiopia’s development partners is specifically earmarked to manage migration along the routes from the Horn of Africa to Europe and to assist Ethiopians being returned from Europe, with very little left to support returnees from Saudi Arabia.

    “Saudi Arabia has summarily returned hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians to Addis Ababa who have little to show for their journey except debts and trauma,” Horne said. “Saudi Arabia should protect migrants on its territory and under its control from traffickers, ensure there is no collusion between its agents and these criminals, and provide them with the opportunity to legally challenge their detention and deportation.”

    All interviews were conducted in Amharic, Tigrayan, or Afan Oromo with translation into English. The interviewees were from the four regions of SNNPR (Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region), Oromia, Amhara, and Tigray. These regions have historically produced the bulk of Ethiopians migrating abroad. To protect interviewees from possible reprisals, pseudonyms are being used in place of their real names. Human Rights Watch wrote to the Ethiopian and Saudi governments seeking comment on abuses described by Ethiopian migrants along the Gulf migration route, but at the time of writing neither had responded.

    Dangerous Boat Journey

    Most of the 11 people interviewed who entered Saudi Arabia without documents described life-threatening boat journeys across the Red Sea from Djibouti, Somaliland, or Puntland to Yemen. They described severely overcrowded boats, beatings, and inadequate food or water on journeys that ranged from 4 to 24 hours. These problems were compounded by dangerous weather conditions or encounters with Saudi/Emirati-led coalition naval vessels patrolling the Yemeni coast.

    “Berhanu” said that Somali smugglers beat people on his boat crossing from Puntland: “They have a setup they use where they place people in spots by weight to keep the boat balanced. If you moved, they beat you.” He said that his trip was lengthened when smugglers were forced to turn the boat around after spotting a light from a naval vessel along the Yemeni coast and wait several hours for it to pass.

    Since March 26, 2015, Saudi Arabia has led a coalition of countries in a military campaign against the Houthi armed group in Yemen. As part of its campaign the Saudi/Emirati-led coalition has imposed a naval blockade on Houthi-controlled Yemeni ports, purportedly to prevent Houthi rebels from importing weapons by sea, but which has also restricted the flow of food, fuel, and medicine to civilians in the country, and included attacks on civilians at sea. Human Rights Watch previously documented a helicopter attack in March 2017 by coalition forces on a boat carrying Somali migrants and refugees returning from Yemen, killing at least 32 of the 145 Somali migrants and refugees on board and one Yemeni civilian.

    Exploitation and Abuses in Yemen

    Once in war-torn Yemen, Ethiopian migrants said they faced kidnappings, beatings, and other abuses by traffickers trying to extort ransom money from them or their family members back home.

    This is not new. Human Rights Watch, in a 2014 report, documented abuses, including torture, of migrants in detention camps in Yemen run by traffickers attempting to extort payments. In 2018, Human Rights Watch documented how Yemeni guards tortured and raped Ethiopian and other Horn of Africa migrants at a detention center in Aden and worked in collaboration with smugglers to send them back to their countries of origin. Recent interviews by Human Rights Watch indicate that the war in Yemen has not significantly affected the abuses against Ethiopians migrating through Yemen to Saudi Arabia. If anything, the conflict, which escalated in 2015, has made the journey more dangerous for migrants who cross into an area of active fighting.

    Seven of the 11 irregular migrants interviewed said they faced detention and extortion by traffickers in Yemen. This occurred in many cases as soon as they reached shore, as smugglers on boats coordinated with the Yemeni traffickers. Migrants said that Yemeni smuggling and trafficking groups always included Ethiopians, often one from each of Oromo, Tigrayan, and Amhara ethnic groups, who generally were responsible for beating and torturing migrants to extort payments. Migrants were generally held in camps for days or weeks until they could provide ransom money, or escape. Ransom payments were usually made by bank transfers from relatives and contacts back in Ethiopia.

    “Abebe” described his experience:

    When we landed… [the traffickers] took us to a place off the road with a tent. Everyone there was armed with guns and they threw us around like garbage. The traffickers were one Yemeni and three Ethiopians – one Tigrayan, one Amhara, and one Oromo…. They started to beat us after we refused to pay, then we had to call our families…. My sister [in Ethiopia] has a house, and the traffickers called her, and they fired a bullet near me that she could hear. They sold the house and sent the money [40,000 Birr, US $1,396].

    “Tesfalem”, said that he was beaten by Yemenis and Ethiopians at a camp he believes was near the port city of Aden:

    They demanded money, but I said I don’t have any. They told me to make a call, but I said I don’t have relatives. They beat me and hung me on the wall by one hand while standing on a chair, then they kicked the chair away and I was swinging by my arm. They beat me on my head with a stick and it was swollen and bled.

    He escaped after three months, was detained in another camp for three months more, and finally escaped again.

    “Biniam” said the men would take turns beating the captured migrants: “The [Ethiopian] who speaks your language beats you, those doing the beating were all Ethiopians. We didn’t think of fighting back against them because we were so tired, and they would kill you if you tried.”

    Two people said that when they landed, the traffickers offered them the opportunity to pay immediately to travel by car to the Saudi border, thereby avoiding the detention camps. One of them, “Getachew,” said that he paid 1,500 Birr (US $52) for the car and escaped mistreatment.

    Others avoided capture when they landed, but then faced the difficult 500 kilometer journey on foot with few resources while trying to avoid capture.

    Dangers faced by Yemeni migrants traveling north were compounded for those who ran into areas of active fighting between Houthi forces and groups aligned with the Saudi/Emirati-led coalition. Two migrants said that their journey was delayed, one by a week, the other by two months, to avoid conflict areas.

    Migrants had no recourse to local authorities and did not report abuses or seek assistance from them. Forces aligned with the Yemeni government and the Houthis have also detained migrants in poor conditions, refused access to protection and asylum procedures, deported migrants en masse in dangerous conditions, and exposed them to abuse. In April 2018, Human Rights Watch reported that Yemeni government officials had tortured, raped, and executed migrants and asylum seekers from the Horn of Africa in a detention center in the southern port city of Aden. The detention center was later shut down.

    The International Organization for Migration (IOM) announced in May that it had initiated a program of voluntary humanitarian returns for irregular Ethiopian migrants held by Yemeni authorities at detention sites in southern Yemen. IOM said that about 5,000 migrants at three sites were held in “unsustainable conditions,” and that the flights from Aden to Ethiopia had stalled because the Saudi/Emirati-led coalition had failed to provide the flights the necessary clearances. The coalition controls Yemen’s airspace.

    Crossing the Border; Abusive Detention inside Saudi Arabia

    Migrants faced new challenges attempting to cross the Saudi-Yemen border. The people interviewed said that the crossing points used by smugglers are in rural, mountainous areas where the border separates Yemen’s Saada Governorate and Saudi Arabia’s Jizan Province. Two said that smugglers separated Ethiopians by their ethnic group and assigned different groups to cross at different border points.

    Ethiopian migrants interviewed were not all able to identify the locations where they crossed. Most indicated points near the Yemeni mountain villages Souq al-Ragu and ‘Izlat Al Thabit, which they called Ragu and Al Thabit. Saudi-aligned media have regularly characterized Souq al-Ragu as a dangerous town from which drug smugglers and irregular migrants cross into Saudi Arabia.

    Migrants recounted pressures to pay for the crossing by smuggling drugs into Saudi Arabia. “Abdi” said he stayed in Souq al-Ragu for 15 days and finally agreed to carry across a 25 kilogram sack of khat in exchange for 500 Saudi Riyals (US$133). Khat is a mild stimulant grown in the Ethiopian highlands and Yemen; it is popular among Yemenis and Saudis, but illegal in Saudi Arabia.

    “Badessa” described Souq al-Ragu as “the crime city:”

    You don’t know who is a trafficker, who is a drug person, but everybody has an angle of some sort. Even Yemenis are afraid of the place, it is run by Ethiopians. It is also a burial place; bodies are gathered of people who had been shot along the border and then they’re buried there. There is no police presence.

    Four of the eleven migrants who crossed the border on foot said Saudi border guards shot at them during their crossings, sometimes after ordering them to stop and other times without warning. Some said they encountered dead bodies along the way. Six said they were apprehended by Saudi border guards or drug police at the border, while five were arrested later.

    “Abebe” said that Saudi border guards shot at his group as they crossed from Izlat Al Thabit:

    They fired bullets, and everyone scattered. People fleeing were shot, my friend was shot in the leg…. One person was shot in the chest and killed and [the Saudi border guards] made us carry him to a place where there was a big excavator. They didn’t let us bury him; the excavator dug a hole and they buried him.

    Berhanu described the scene in the border area: “There were many dead people at the border. You could walk on the corpses. No one comes to bury them.”

    Getachew added: “It is like a graveyard. There are no dogs or hyenas there to eat the bodies, just dead bodies everywhere.”

    Two of the five interviewees who crossed the border without being detained said that Saudi and Ethiopian smugglers and traffickers took them to informal detention camps in southern Saudi towns and held them for ransom. “Yonas” said they took him and 14 others to a camp in the Fayfa area of Jizan Province: “They beat me daily until I called my family. They wanted 10,000 Birr ($349). My father sold his farmland and sent the 10,000 Birr, but then they told me this isn’t enough, we need 20,000 ($698). I had nothing left and decided to escape or die.” He escaped.

    Following their capture, the migrants described abusive conditions in Saudi governmental detention centers and prisons, including overcrowding and inadequate food, water, and medical care. Migrants also described beatings by Saudi guards.

    Nine migrants who were captured while crossing the border illegally or living in Saudi Arabia without documentation spent up to five months in detention before authorities deported them back to Ethiopia. The three others were convicted of criminal offenses that included human trafficking and drug smuggling, resulting in longer periods in detention before being deported.

    The migrants identified about 10 prisons and detention centers where they were held for various periods. The most frequently cited were a center near the town of al-Dayer in Jizan Province along the border, Jizan Central Prison in Jizan city, and the Shmeisi Detention Center east of Jeddah, where migrants are processed for deportation.

    Al-Dayer had the worst conditions, they said, citing overcrowding, inadequate sanitation, food and water, and medical care. Yonas said:

    They tied our feet with chains and they beat us while chained, sometimes you can’t get to the food because you are chained. If you get chained by the toilet it will overflow and flow under you. If you are aggressive you get chained by the toilet. If you are good [behave well], they chain you to another person and you can move around.

    Abraham had a similar description:

    The people there beat us. Ethnic groups [from Ethiopia] fought with each other. The toilet was overflowing. It was like a graveyard and not a place to live. Urine was everywhere and people were defecating. The smell was terrible.

    Other migrants described similarly bad conditions in Jizan Central Prison. “Ibrahim” said that he was a legal migrant working in Saudi Arabia, but that he travelled to Jizan to help his sister, whom Saudi authorities had detained after she crossed from Yemen illegally. Once in Jizan, authorities suspected him of human trafficking and arrested him, put him on trial, and sentenced him to two years in prison, a sentenced he partially served in Jizan Central Prison:

    Jizan prison is so very tough…. You can be sleeping with [beside] someone who has tuberculosis, and if you ask an official to move you, they don’t care. They will beat you. You can’t change clothes, you have one set and that is it, sometimes the guards will illegally bring clothes and sell to you at night.

    He also complained of overcrowding: “When you want to sleep you tell people and they all jostle to make some room, then you sleep for a bit but you wake up because everyone is jostling against each other.”

    Most of the migrants said food was inadequate. Yonas described the situation in al-Dayer: “When they gave food 10 people would gather and fight over it. If you don’t have energy you won’t eat. The fight is over rice and bread.”

    Detainees also said medical care was inadequate and that detainees with symptoms of tuberculosis (such as cough, fever, night sweats, or weight loss) were not isolated from other prisoners. Human Rights Watch interviewed three former detainees who were being treated for tuberculosis after being deported, two of whom said they were held with other detainees despite having symptoms of active tuberculosis.

    Detainees described being beaten by Saudi prison guards when they requested medical care. Abdi said:

    I was beaten once with a stick in Jizan that was like a piece of rebar covered in plastic. I was sick in prison and I used to vomit. They said, ‘why do you do that when people are eating?’ and then they beat me harshly and I told him [the guard], ‘Please kill me.’ He eventually stopped.

    Ibrahim said he was also beaten when he requested medical care for tuberculosis:

    [Prison guards] have a rule that you aren’t supposed to knock on the door [and disturb the guards]. When I got sick in the first six months and asked to go to the clinic, they just beat me with electric wires on the bottom of my feet. I kept asking so they kept beating.

    Detainees said that the other primary impetus for beatings by guards was fighting between different ethnic groups of Ethiopians in detention, largely between ethnic Oromos, Amharas, and Tigrayans. Ethnic tensions are increasingly common back in Ethiopia.

    Detainees said that conditions generally improved once they were transferred to Shmeisi Detention Center, near Jeddah, where they stayed only a few days before receiving temporary travel documents from Ethiopian consular authorities and deported to Ethiopia. The migrants charged with and convicted of crimes had no opportunity to consult legal counsel.

    None of the migrants said they were given the opportunity to legally challenge their deportations, and Saudi Arabia has not established an asylum system under which migrants could apply for protection from deportation where there was a risk of persecution if they were sent back. Saudi Arabia is not a party to the 1951 Refugee Convention.

    Deportation and Future Prospects

    Humanitarian workers and diplomats told Human Rights Watch that since the beginning of Saudi Arabia’s deportation campaign, large numbers of Ethiopian deportees have been transported via special flights by Saudia Airlines to Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa and unloaded in a cargo area away from the main international terminal or at the domestic terminal. When Human Rights Watch visited in May, it appeared that the Saudi flights were suspended during the month of Ramadan, during which strict sunrise-to-sunset fasting is observed by Muslims. All interviewees who were deported in May said they had returned on regular Ethiopian Airlines commercial flights and disembarked at the main terminal with other passengers.

    All of those deported said that they returned to Ethiopia with nothing but the clothes they were wearing, and that Saudi authorities had confiscated their mobile phones and in some cases shoes and belts. “After staying in Jeddah … they had us make a line and take off our shoes,” Abraham said. “Anything that could tie like a belt we had to leave, they wouldn’t let us take it. We were barefoot when we went to the airport.”

    Deportees often have critical needs for assistance, including medical care, some for gunshot wounds. One returnee recovering from tuberculosis said that he did not have enough money to buy food and was going hungry. Abdi said that when he left for Saudi Arabia he weighed 64 kilograms but returned weighing only 47 or 48 kilograms.

    Aid workers and diplomats familiar with migration issues in Ethiopia said that very little international assistance is earmarked for helping deportees from Saudi Arabia for medical care and shelter or money to return and reintegrate in their home villages.

    Over 8 million people are in need of food assistance in Ethiopia, a country of over 100 million. It hosts over 920,000 refugees from neighboring countries and violence along ethnic lines produced over 2.4 internally displaced people in 2018, many of whom have now been returned.

    The IOM registers migrants upon arrival in Ethiopia and to facilitate their return from Saudi Arabia. Several hours after their arrival and once registered, they leave the airport and must fend for themselves. Some said they had never been to Addis before.

    In 2013 and 2014, Saudi Arabia conducted an expulsion campaign similar to the one that began in November 2017. The earlier campaign expelled about 163,000 Ethiopians, according to the IOM. A 2015 Human Rights Watch report found that migrants experienced serious abuses during detention and deportation, including attacks by security forces and private citizens in Saudi Arabia, and inadequate and abusive detention conditions. Human Rights Watch has also previously documented mistreatment of Ethiopian migrants by traffickers and government detention centers in Yemen.

    Aid workers and diplomats said that inadequate funding to assist returning migrants is as a result of several factors, including a focus of many of the European funders on stemming migration to and facilitating returns from Europe, along with competing priorities and the low visibility of the issue compared with migration to Europe.

    During previous mass returns from Saudi Arabia, there was more funding for reintegration and more international media attention in part because there was such a large influx in a short time, aid workers said.

    https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/08/15/ethiopians-abused-gulf-migration-route
    #migrations #asile #violence #réfugiés #réfugiés_éthiopiens #Ethiopie #pays_du_Golfe #route_du_Golfe #mer_Rouge #Golfe_d'Aden #Yémen #Arabie_Saoudite #frontières #violent_borders #torture #trafic_d'êtres_humains #exploitation #routes_migratoires

    signalé par @isskein

  • #Michelle_Fe_Santiago, la voix des #domestiques abusées

    Dans les pays du Golfe, la maltraitance des employées de maison fait souvent la « une ». Basée au #Koweït depuis 1999, la journaliste philippine Michelle Fe Santiago porte la #mémoire de la violence qui frappe sa communauté.

    « Love to the max… max, max, max ! », claironne gaiement un jingle. Michelle Fe Santiago, dite Maxi, prend place dans le studio. Cette journaliste philippine, au visage jovial, anime la matinale de Pinoy Arabia, radio en ligne créée en octobre 2014 pour divertir une audience majoritairement composée de compatriotes. Une communauté importante au Koweït qui regroupe pas moins de 222 000 Philippins, dont 62% officient comme domestiques. « Je passe quelques chansons d’amour. Parfois je réponds à des commentaires d’auditeurs, je relaie des dédicaces et diffuse quelques actualités », relate Michelle derrière son écran.

    La journaliste, en poste au Koweït depuis 1999, couvre les actualités de l’Emirat pour Arab Times en parallèle à sa fonction de correspondante au Moyen-Orient pour la chaîne de télévision philippine ABS-CBN. En presque vingt ans d’expatriation, Maxi sait combien il n’est pas aisé pour les Philippines de vivre et de travailler dans les pays du Golfe, et particulièrement au Koweït. Un nouveau jingle passe : « Live is short, love to the max (La vie est courte, aimez au maximum, ndlr) ». « Je ne vais pas rentrer dans les détails, mais il m’est arrivé de couvrir des faits divers… », Maxi se retient d’un sourire gêné.

    Lourd à porter

    Il y a sept ans, elle est prévenue de l’hospitalisation d’une domestique philippine trouvée inanimée dans l’arrière-pays désertique, poignardée. « Elle a rampé longtemps, mais a survécu. Un policier l’avait violée à l’arrière de sa voiture et avait voulu la faire disparaître. » Dans les colonnes de Kuwait Times, Michelle est la première journaliste à couvrir le drame. Son article trouve un écho auprès d’une avocate koweïtienne qui se porte volontaire pour représenter la domestique gratuitement. « Le policier a été arrêté, jugé, puis condamné à perpétuité », hoche-t-elle de la tête solennellement.

    Des cas comme cette domestique, Maxi en a couvert une multitude. Un exercice qui laisse des marques. « Parfois quand j’entends leur histoire, j’ai envie de pleurer, mais en tant que journaliste vous ne pouvez pas montrer vos émotions. C’est contraire à l’éthique de pleurer devant ses interlocuteurs. J’ai appris à contrôler mes larmes. Quand je rentre chez moi, il m’arrive cependant de littéralement m’effondrer. »

    L’ambassade des Philippines au Koweït estime à plus de 2500 par an les cas de domestiques violentées physiquement ou sexuellement. Un chiffre qui ne reflète pas la réalité, selon plusieurs associations locales d’aide aux travailleurs étrangers. C’est le cas de Kuwait Society for Human Rights. En 2018, l’ONG a reçu quelque 5400 plaintes de travailleurs étrangers, majoritairement des domestiques.

    Même écho pour Sandigan, collectif de Philippins basé au Koweït connu pour ses évacuations spectaculaires d’employées de maison. Ces travailleurs sociaux disent recevoir des centaines de messages d’appel à l’aide par mois. Salaires impayés, défenestrations de fuite, maltraitances, violences sexuelles, manque de nourriture ; les domestiques philippines font face à l’impunité des ménages koweïtiens auxquels la police locale a difficilement accès.

    Difficile également de dénoncer. Car si le Koweït est l’unique pays à se targuer d’avoir un parlement et un débat politique où il est possible de remettre en cause et critiquer le gouvernement, la liberté d’expression reste relative quand elle touche à l’image du pays. « Ici vous devez parfois trouver des moyens détournés de couvrir un sujet. Mais je ne peux pas non plus garder les yeux fermés. Alors je m’assure que l’autocensure que j’exerce sur mon travail ne sacrifie pas la véracité et les faits », sourit la journaliste.
    Appels à l’aide

    A l’occasion des élections de mi-mandat, Maxi délivre quelques conseils pratiques pour aller voter sur les ondes de Pinoy Arabia entre quelques dédicaces de parents philippins dédiées à leurs enfants exilés au Koweït. L’an dernier, alors qu’un énième meurtre d’une domestique philippine faisait les gros titres de la presse locale, le président philippin Duterte actait une interdiction, durant quatre mois, pour tout nouveau ressortissant de venir travailler au sein de l’Emirat. Une mesure très critiquée au Koweït, et une période de forte tension diplomatique, qui a néanmoins débouché sur un accord. « Pinoy Arabia a collaboré avec l’ambassade pour aider toutes celles qui voulaient quitter le Koweït pendant cette période-là. »

    Si la radio fondée par Maxi n’a aucune vocation politique, et ne sert majoritairement qu’à divertir son audience, elle est un formidable moyen de prendre le pouls de la communauté philippine. « Même si les conditions de mes compatriotes se sont améliorées depuis l’accord, je reçois encore des messages d’appel à l’aide. Je ne fais jamais de sauvetage moi-même. Mon rôle est de me coordonner avec l’ambassade quand cela arrive. »

    Pris de gros risque

    Après une longue présence sur le sol koweïtien, Maxi a certes acquis une popularité chez les siens et a pu couvrir entre autres l’invasion américaine en Irak, mais la journaliste philippine grimace à l’idée de rester une nouvelle décennie dans l’Emirat. « Ce n’était pas du tout prévu que je fasse une partie de ma carrière ici. J’étais simplement venue passer un Noël avec des proches. »

    Née de deux parents instituteurs, à Zamboanga, ville située dans l’ouest de l’île de Mindanao, Michelle dit avoir toujours eu la fibre journalistique et n’avoir jamais pensé un jour à s’exiler dans un autre pays, comme plus de 10% de la population des Philippines – soit 11 millions de personnes. « J’ai pris de gros risques en venant m’installer ici car je gagnais bien ma vie aux Philippines. Dans cinq ans, je pense rentrer. Pourquoi ne pas faire des documentaires sur des problèmes sociaux qui existent dans mon pays ? »

    https://lecourrier.ch/2019/07/28/michelle-fe-santiago-la-voix-des-domestiques-abusees
    #exploitation #travail_domestique #abus #violence #pays_du_Golfe #Phiippines #migrations #travailleurs_étrangers #viols #abus_sexuels

    ping @isskein

  • Les migrations contribuent-elles à améliorer la condition des femmes au pays d’origine ?

    Ce 9e numéro de #De_facto mobilise des chercheurs en #économie_du_développement pour apprécier les conséquences des migrations sur la #condition_des_femmes dans les #pays_d’origine. Sandrine Mesplé-Somps et Idrissa Diabaté montrent que les émigrées qui rentrent au Mali depuis la Côte d’Ivoire contribuent à faire reculer l’#excision (http://icmigrations.fr/2019/07/01/defacto-9-001). À l’opposé, Simone Bertoli constate que les Égyptiens ayant séjourné dans les #pays_du_Golfe en reviennent avec une vision plus conservatrice du #rôle_des_femmes (http://icmigrations.fr/2019/07/01/defacto-9-003). Jason Gagnon compare migrations féminines et migrations masculines à l’échelle des grandes régions du monde et montre que les femmes migrent aussi dans l’espoir de s’émanciper (http://icmigrations.fr/2019/07/01/defacto-9-004). Au #Sénégal, où nous emmène Sylvie Lambert, les #migrations_matrimoniales des femmes peuvent leur permettre d’améliorer leur #bien-être et de gagner en #autonomie (http://icmigrations.fr/2019/07/01/defacto-9-002).

    http://icmigrations.fr/defacto-009
    #femmes #migrations #asile #réfugiés #développement #Golfe #émancipation #Egypte #Mali

  • Pourquoi l’Arabie saoudite et ses alliés ont rompu avec le #Qatar
    https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/060617/pourquoi-l-arabie-saoudite-et-ses-allies-ont-rompu-avec-le-qatar

    Riyad, qui accuse Doha de soutenir le terrorisme, c’est-à-dire les #Frères_musulmans et surtout de garder des relations avec l’Iran, a convaincu l’Égypte, les Émirats arabes unis et Bahrein de se joindre à sa stratégie d’isolement du Qatar.

    #International #Arabie_Saoudite #Egypte #Etats-Unis #Iran #pays_du_Golfe

  • Moyen-Orient et Mondes Musulmans

    Colloque international : Représentations spatiales de la péninsule Arabique
    10 mai 2016 Cyrielle Michineau

    http://majlis-remomm.fr/category/appels-a-communications

    Tout ce qu’on rate en n’étant pas à Paris !

    arton310-631c4Colloque international « Représentations spatiales de la péninsule arabique » du 20 au 22 octobre 2016
    Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne

    La représentation de la péninsule Arabique est loin de présenter un profil linéaire. L’ouverture des champs d’étude et de connaissance en Europe sur la péninsule Arabique a permis de produire des représentations spatio-temporelles multiples suivant les intérêts et selon les époques. Si les éléments de documentation sont plus nombreux et diversifiés à la période contemporaine, ils restent plus généralistes sur les représentations et englobent le monde arabo-musulman sans spécifier l’espace de la péninsule Arabique en particulier. La représentation spatiale est construite sur une identification culturelle et territoriale dans une temporalité bien définie, à l’exemple des différentes divisions territoriales qui ont pu coexister : celles des trois Arabies (pétré, déserte et heureuse), des deux régions (Yémen et Hedjaz) ou bien de cinq à neuf (Yémen, Hedjaz, Najd, Tehama et Yamama auxquelles s’ajoutent parfois Hadramaout, Oman, Bahreïn et Seger). Ainsi, l’héritage cartographique présente un témoignage important sur l’évolution des intérêts et des savoirs dans un contexte spatio-temporel précis. Il témoigne également de la subjectivité dans la lecture de l’espace qui porte sur la perception de soi et de l’autre.

    Il est alors intéressant de croiser les regards sur ces différentes perceptions cartographiques, iconographiques ou mentales, selon le contexte culturel et les modalités de sa production. Les cartes européennes présentent-elles une vision très différente de la péninsule Arabique de celle que présentent des cartes arabes ? Comment cet outil cartographique a-t-il été utilisé selon les époques par les pays arabes ou européens, pour permettre de passer de l’identification du territoire à l’exploration d’un espace puis à sa redéfinition ?

    Ce colloque a pour objectif d’identifier et d’analyser les différentes perceptions culturelles et territoriales de la péninsule Arabique dans les sociétés européennes et arabes, les mécanismes de constitution d’un imaginaire autour de cet espace et les interactions éventuelles entre récits historiques et redéfinition de celui-ci du XVIe siècle à l’époque contemporaine. Il réunira des chercheurs de l’Europe et du monde Arabe autour de cette question. Les thèmes abordés incluent la géographie, l’histoire, l’histoire de l’art, les récits de voyageur, les rapports de missions scientifiques ainsi que le patrimoine iconographique, l’anthropologie, etc.

    Suggestions d’approches thématiques :
    – les typologies et les langages des représentations spatiales (cartographiques, iconographiques ou mentales) de la péninsule Arabique
    – redéfinition des frontières et toponymie de la péninsule Arabique
    – comparaison des représentations arabes et européennes de la péninsule Arabique
    – les approches artistiques, architecturales et littéraires sur l’espace de la péninsule Arabique (architecture, urbanisme, littérature, cinéma)

    Pour plus d’informations : https://www.univ-paris1.fr/de/chaires/chaire-dialogue

    #pays_du_golfe #frontières #territoires #représentations_spatiale #cartographie

    • House of Commons - The UK’s role in the economic war against ISIL - Foreign Affairs Committee
      http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmfaff/121/12107.htm#_idTextAnchor033

      Donations to ISIL

      39.The Ministry of Defence told us that:

      It is accepted amongst FATF [Financial Action Task Force] members that the overall value of external donations to Daesh is minimal in relation to the revenue it generates from other sources, such as oil and taxation. But there is historical evidence of instances of financial donations to Daesh from within Gulf States.78 Furthermore, it is understood that family donations are being made to Daesh, through the unregulated Alternative Value Transfer Systems.79

      40.The Government emphasised to us that it had no evidence of any state in the Middle East providing money to ISIL as a matter of policy. A written submission from the Ministry of Defence outlined the important role that countries such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Qatar are playing in the international Coalition against ISIL,80 and the Embassy of Qatar in London wrote separately81 to the inquiry about that state’s efforts to militarily and financially isolate this terrorist group. The Gulf States are vital allies in the war against ISIL, but the UK should be able to ask hard questions of close friends as part of our collective efforts to counter this common threat.

      41. Witnesses from the FCO addressed allegations that some governments in the region may have failed to prevent donations reaching ISIL from their citizens. Dan Chugg said that:

      There were allegations that Gulf countries were turning a blind eye, at the very least, to what was happening82…allegations that Saudi, Qatar and Turkey were involved in funding Daesh in some ways83…I am not aware of hard evidence that those countries were funding Daesh, but there was a lot of speculation that those countries were not playing a terribly helpful role.84

      42.Tobias Ellwood described a time, soon after ISIL first caught international attention with its rapid military expansion, when the group may have been perceived as a defender of Sunni Muslims in the wars in Iraq and Syria.85 Dan Chugg put this period “around two years ago”,86 while Tobias Ellwood referred to “before 2014”.87 During this period, ISIL may have been able to attract donations from sympathetic Sunnis, with the wealthiest states in the region—the Sunni monarchies of the Gulf—being the subject of particular concern. Mr Chugg said that “it was certainly a problem in the early days of the Daesh organisation that there was funding coming in from Gulf countries and other places.”88

      43.States in the region are establishing the legal and institutional infrastructure required to counter ISIL’s ability to raise finances. These steps have been described to us by the Ministry of Defence,89 and we welcome the action taken. Progress has also been made in establishing a global framework for internationally-coordinated action. UN Security Council Resolution 2253, which was passed on 17 December 2015, is an important international standard for countering terrorism financing. It establishes provisions that member states are expected to enact so as to counter funding, and other material support, for ISIL. Resolution 2253 includes such measures as preventing donations to ISIL, freezing its assets, and inhibiting trade related to the group.90

      44.But these efforts—of both individual states and of the international community—will not be effective if the measures against ISIL are enforced more effectively in some states than others. Some of the local measures to counter ISIL’s fundraising have been slow to be implemented by regional states. For example, the MoD told us that it was only in March 2015 that the Interior Ministry of Saudi Arabia passed laws making it illegal for Saudi residents to provide support to ISIL.91 In contrast, the UK designated ISIL as a distinct terrorist organisation in June 2014.92 There is also the issue that some of those donating to ISIL may have been close to the ruling families of the region. Tobias Ellwood told us that:

      It is very opaque, it has to be said. When somebody who is close to the top of a royal family is a very rich individual donor and chooses to do so, that is very likely to happen.93

      45.Dan Chugg said that:

      It is difficult with some of these countries to know exactly what is Government funding and what is not when you are dealing with royal families, wealthy princes and those kind of things94…Our strategy was not to try to ascertain whose problem and whose fault it was, but to stop the funding going to Daesh. That was what was important. And that is what our efforts have been focused on.95

      46.ISIL has received funding in the form of donations in the past. The FCO should work with local partners in the region to ensure that they have the capacity and resolve to rigorously enforce local laws to prevent the funding of ISIL, so that the group cannot benefit from donations in the future.

  • Oman : Des travailleuses domestiques victimes de la traite humaine et piégées. Une réforme systémique et de nouvelles lois sont nécessaires pour protéger les migrantes

    (Beyrouth) – À Oman, de nombreuses travailleuses domestiques migrantes sont piégées dans des conditions abusives, selon un rapport de Human Rights Watch publié aujourd’hui. Les autorités omanaises doivent immédiatement prendre des mesures pour réformer le système d’immigration restrictive qui lie les migrantes aux employeurs, leur permettre de bénéficier des protections déjà garanties par le droit du travail aux personnes employées dans d’autres secteurs, et enquêter sur tous les signalements de traite, de travail forcé et d’esclavage.

    https://www.hrw.org/fr/news/2016/07/13/oman-des-travailleuses-domestiques-victimes-de-la-traite-humaine-et-piegees
    #femmes #traite #trafic_d'êtres_humains #Oman #pays_du_golfe #travail #exploitation #néo-esclavagisme #travail_domestique

  • Managing migrant labour in the Gulf: Transnational dynamics of migration politics since the 1930s

    This paper looks at migration management in the Gulf monarchies since the 1930s. It describes the dynamics of labour import and immigration policies highlighting the hybrid nature of migration management. Migration trends and migrants’ lives are organised by public and private actors and institutions operating transnationally, between home and host countries. The economic determinants and the exploitative dimension of migration management have often been highlighted in the literature. This paper explores the patterns and politics of migration management at the domestic, regional and international level over time to identify changes and continuity. From the colonial premises to the 1970s and the oil boom, the patterns of labour import management proved consistent, shaping immigration as temporary and denying foreign workers socio-economic rights. The politics and the economics of migration management evolved over time, accounting for instance for a shift in the geography of labour import – from Arab migration to Asian migration. Since the 1990s however States and governments have sought to increase their control in the management of migration as migrants’ settlement emerged as a security concern in Gulf societies. Reforms adopted in the wake of the Arab Spring have further illustrated this trend, bringing the State back in the illiberal transnationalism of migration management and anti-immigrant policies.

    https://www.imi.ox.ac.uk/publications/managing-migrant-labour-in-the-gulf-transnational-dynamics-of-migration-po

    #pays_du_Golfe #migrations #travail

  • Immigration Detention in the Gulf:

    Labour migrants are a backbone of the economies of all the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council—#Bahrain, #Kuwait, #Oman, #Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. While much has been reported on the abuses these workers often suffer, very little is known about what happens to them when they are arrested and detained. This GDP Special Report helps fill this gap. Based on a two-year investigation, this report shows that while all the Gulf states provide constitutional guarantees against arbitrary or unlawful arrest and imprisonment, they all make widespread use of forms of immigration-related detention for the purposes of punishing or deporting foreigners, often in situations that may be considered arbitrary or otherwise contrary to human rights norms. Read report.

    http://www.globaldetentionproject.org/publications/special-reports/immigration-detention-in-the-gulf.html
    #pays_du_golfe #travail #exploitation #détention_administrative #détention #Arabie_Saoudite

  • Jean-François Bayart : « La France est droguée à l’argent des pétromonarchies » - Luis Lema - Publié jeudi 3 décembre 2015
    http://www.letemps.ch/monde/2015/12/03/jean-francois-bayart-france-droguee-argent-petromonarchies

    Le Temps : L’Arabie saoudite, le meilleur ennemi de la France ?

    Jean-François Bayart : C’est en tout cas le résultat d’une alliance avec les pétromonarchies dont nous recevons aujourd’hui l’effet de boomerang. A partir des années 1970 ont été signés toute une série d’accords de défense entre la France et les Emirats arabes unis, puis le Qatar et dans une moindre mesure le Koweït, auxquels s’ajoute en outre un partenariat très développé avec l’Arabie saoudite de même qu’avec le Pakistan. Le propos des Français était avant tout commercial. Nous sommes alors dans le contexte des chocs pétroliers et d’un grave déficit de la balance commerciale de la France. Le premier objectif concernait ce que l’on appelle « les grands marchés », dont l’exportation française est très tributaire, à l’inverse par exemple de l’Allemagne dont les exportations reposent davantage sur un tissu de petites et moyennes entreprises beaucoup plus dense et performant.

    Dans ces accords de défense, certaines clauses secrètes et différées dans le temps. Ces clauses étaient « très engageantes » comme on dit dans le vocabulaire militaire français, c’est-à-dire qu’elles impliquent l’automaticité. Très concrètement, si demain il y a un conflit entre l’Iran et le Qatar, ces accords de défense stipulent l’intervention militaire automatique de la France.

    #Jean-François_Bayart

  • Aéronautique : les Emirats Arabes Unis en guerre, la fièvre des commandes tombe

    http://www.latribune.fr/entreprises-finance/industrie/aeronautique-defense/les-emirats-arabes-unis-sont-en-guerre-la-fievre-des-commandes-tombe-52067

    Quelle tristesse...
    via Pierre Ageron sur Twitter

    Les Emirats Arabes Unis sont en guerre au Yémen. Un conflit qui coûte très cher et qui repousse à plus tard les dossiers d’acquisitions de nouveaux équipements militaires. Les compagnies aériennes du Golfe digèrent quant à elles leurs précédentes commandes faramineuses.

    #armes #armements #eau #pays_du_golfe #golfe

  • #Koweït. La #France poursuit ses ventes d’#armes dans le Golfe

    “Visite du Premier ministre koweïtien en France : des accords militaires et économiques”, titre le quotidien Al-Jarida. Le journal annonçait ce matin que “les deux pays doivent signer le 21 octobre des accords de principe dans le domaine de la défense pour un montant de 2,5 milliards d’euros, portant notamment sur 24 hélicoptères fabriqués par Airbus et des véhicules terrestres de Renault Trucks.” La France continue ainsi d’engranger de gros contrats d’armement dans le Golfe, après les accords signés cette année avec le Qatar et l’Arabie Saoudite et alors que les discussions se poursuivent pour la vente d’avions Rafale aux Emirats arabes unis.


    http://www.courrierinternational.com/une/koweit-la-france-poursuit-ses-ventes-darmes-dans-le-golfe
    #armement #commerce_d'armes #pays_du_Golfe

  • Le quotidien « Aftenposten » a cru bon de rappeler qu’à la Mecque, il y a un camp avec des tentes pouvant accueillir 3 millions de personnes et que ce camp pour le moment est au 3/4 vide :) Et aussi que ce camp n’a pas vu l’ombre d’un réfugié syrien depuis 4 ans !

    #humour_saoudien

    Teltleir for tre millioner mennesker står tom i landet som ikke har tatt i mot en eneste syrisk flyktning - Aftenposten

    http://www.aftenposten.no/nyheter/uriks/Teltleir-for-tre-millioner-mennesker-star-tom-i-landet-som-ikke-har-tatt

    Krigen i Syria har pågått i fire år, krevd mellom 200.000 og 300.000 liv og drevet over fire millioner mennesker på flukt.

    De fleste befinner seg i naboland som Tyrkia, Jordan og Libanon, hvorav sistnevnte alene har tatt i mot over én million flyktninger. Flere hundretusen syrere har lagt ut på en farlig reise mot Europa og utløst den største migrasjons- og flyktningekrisen siden andre verdenskrig.

  • Migrants : les monarchies du Golfe et la politique de la porte close - Moyen-Orient - RFI

    http://www.rfi.fr/moyen-orient/20150905-monarchies-arabes-pas-accueil-migrants/?ns_mchannel=fidelisation&ns_source=newsletter_rfi_fr_monde&ns_campaign=email&ns

    Une carte circule sur les réseaux sociaux ces jours-ci. On y voit le nombre de réfugiés syriens accueillis par les pays de la région. Près de 2 millions en Turquie, plus d’un million au Liban et plus de 600 000 en Jordanie. Mais le chiffre tombe à zéro pour l’Arabie saoudite, le Qatar et les autres monarchies du Golfe.

    Cherif El Fayed est en charge de la question des réfugiés à Amnesty International. « Il y a 4 millions de réfugiés syriens au Moyen-Orient et ce qui est honteux, c’est que les pays du Golfe n’ont pas pris un seul réfugié syrien ces quatre dernières années. On penserait que les pays du Golfe, qui sont assez riches, très près géographiquement et proches de la Syrie en terme de langage, de religion, en prendraient un grand nombre. Mais ils n’en ont pris aucun. Alors qu’ils devraient en prendre des dizaines de milliers. »

    #réfugiés #syrie #pays_du_golfe #migrations #asile #europe

  • #Jordanie : l’#aide_humanitaire, nouveau champ d’action d’organisations salafistes

    Ils sont plus d’un demi-million de réfugiés syriens en Jordanie depuis le début de la guerre, la plupart en situation d’extrême pauvreté. Pour eux, les célébrations de l’Aïd risquent d’être ternes, d’autant que l’aide des ONG chapeautées par l’ONU commence à se tarir, faute d’argent. Un vide que s’empressent de combler des #organisations_salafistes financées par des monarchies du Golfe. Sous couvert d’aide humanitaire, certaines en profitent pour faire du prosélytisme.

    http://www.france24.com/fr/20150717-video-jordanie-refugies-syrien-ramadan-aide-proselytisme-salafist
    #pays_du_Golfe #réfugiés #migration #asile

  • Immigration au #Qatar : la #kafala toujours en place malgré les promesses

    L’ONG Amnesty International publie ce jeudi un rapport pour rappeler au Qatar qu’il n’a pas tenu ses promesses en matière d’amélioration des droits des ouvriers, et notamment la réforme de la Kafala, ce système qui met tout employé à la merci de son employeur pour changer de travail, sortir du territoire…Une réforme annoncée il y a un an et qui n’a pas eu lieu.

    http://www.rfi.fr/moyen-orient/20150521-immigration-qatar-kafala-rapport-amnesty-travailleurs-migrants
    #migration #travail #exploitation

    • Will Migrant Domestic Workers in the Gulf Ever Be Safe From Abuse?

      Jahanara* had had enough. For a year, the Bangladeshi cook had been working 12 to 16 hours a day, eating only leftovers and sleeping on the kitchen floor of her employer’s Abu Dhabi home – all for half the salary she had been promised. She had to prepare four fresh meals a day for the eight-member family, who gave her little rest. She was tired, she had no phone and she was alone. So, in the summer of 2014, in the middle of the night after a long day’s work, she snuck out into the driveway, scaled the front gate and escaped.

      Jahanara ran along the road in the dark. She did not know where she was going. Eventually, a Pakistani taxi driver pulled over, and asked her if she had run away from her employer, and whether she needed help. She admitted she had no money, and no clue where she wanted to go. The driver gave her a ride, dropping her off in the neighboring emirate of Dubai, in the Deira neighborhood. There, he introduced her to Vijaya, an Indian woman in her late fifties who had been working in the Gulf for more than two decades.

      “It’s like I found family here in this strange land.”

      Vijaya gave the nervous young woman a meal of rice, dal and, as Jahanara still recalls, “a beautiful fish fry.” She arranged for Jahanara to rent half a room in her apartment and, within a week, had found her part-time housekeeping work in the homes of two expat families.

      Jahanara is a 31-year-old single woman from north Bangladesh, and Vijaya, 60, is a grandmother of eight from Mumbai, India. Jahanara speaks Bengali, while Vijaya speaks Telugu. Despite the differences in age and background, the two women have become close friends. They communicate in gestures and broken Urdu.

      “It’s like I found family here in this strange land,” Jahanara says.

      The younger woman now cleans four houses a day, and cooks dinner for a fifth, while the older woman works as a masseuse, giving traditional oil massages to mothers and babies.

      Jahanara’s experience in #Abu_Dhabi was not the first time she had been exploited as a domestic worker in the Gulf. She originally left Bangladesh six years ago, and has been home only once since then, when she ran away from abusive employers in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and the police deported her. She had no choice – under the much-criticized kafala system for legally employing migrant workers, a domestic worker is attached to a particular household that sponsors their visa. Employers often keep the worker’s passport to prevent their leaving, although this is illegal in most Gulf countries today.

      Under kafala, quitting a bad boss means losing your passport and vital work visa, and potentially being arrested or deported. This is why, the second time, Jahanara escaped in the dead of night. Now, she works outside official channels.

      “You earn at least three times more if you’re ‘khalli walli,’” Vijaya says, using a colloquial Arabic term for undocumented or freelance migrant workers. The name loosely translates as “take it or leave it.”

      “You get to sleep in your own house, you get paid on time and if your employer misbehaves, you can find a new one,” she says.

      “The Gulf needs us, but like a bad husband, it also exploits us.”

      Ever year, driven by poverty, family pressure, conflict or natural disasters back home, millions of women, mainly from developing countries, get on flights to the Gulf with their fingers crossed that they won’t be abused when they get there.

      It’s a dangerous trade-off, but one that can work out for some. When Jahanara and Vijaya describe their lives, the two women repeatedly weigh the possibility of financial empowerment against inadequate wages, routine abuse and vulnerability.

      By working for 23 years in Dubai and Muscat in Oman, Vijaya has funded the education of her three children, the construction of a house for her son in a Mumbai slum and the weddings of two daughters. She is overworked and underpaid, but she says that’s “normal.” As she sees it, it’s all part of working on the margins of one of the world’s most successful economies.

      “The Gulf needs us,” Vijaya says. “But like a bad husband, it also exploits us.”

      The International Labour Organization (ILO) reports that there are 11.5 million migrant domestic workers around the world – 73 percent of them are women. In 2016, there were 3.77 million domestic workers in Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

      In a single household in these states, it’s common to find several domestic workers employed to do everything from cleaning and cooking, to guarding the home and tutoring the children.

      Unlike other sectors, the demand for domestic workers has been resilient to economic downturns. Estimated to be one of the world’s largest employers of domestic workers, Saudi Arabia hosts around 2.42 million. The majority of these workers (733,000) entered the country between 2016 and 2017, during its fiscal deficit. In 2017, domestic workers comprised a full 22 percent of Kuwait’s working age population. Oman has seen a threefold explosion in its domestic work sector since 2008. Overall, the GCC’s migrant domestic work sector has been growing at an annual average of 8.7 percent for the past decade.

      That growth is partly fueled by the increasing numbers of women entering the workforce. The percentage of Saudi Arabia’s adult female population in the formal labor force has risen from 18 percent to 22 percent over the past decade. In Qatar, the figure has jumped from 49 percent to 58 percent. And as more women go to work, there’s a growing need for others to take over the child and elderly care in their households. Experts call this transfer of care work from unpaid family members to paid workers from other countries the “global care chain.”

      A 2017 report, which examined the effect of changing demographics in the Gulf, found that dramatically decreased fertility – thanks to improved female education and later marriages – and greater numbers of the dependent elderly have resulted in an “increased trend for labour participation of ‘traditional’ informal care givers (usually women).”

      The enduring use of migrant domestic workers in the region is also a result of local traditions. For example, while Saudi Arabia was still the only country in the world that banned women from driving, there was a consistent need for male personal drivers, many coming from abroad. The ban was lifted in June 2018, but the demand for drivers is still high because many women don’t yet have licenses.

      “Without domestic workers, societies could not function here,” says Mohammed Abu Baker, a lawyer in Abu Dhabi and a UAE national. “I was brought up by many Indian nannies, at a time when Indians were our primary migrants. Now, I have a Pakistani driver, an Indonesian cook, an Indian cleaner, a Filipino home nurse and a Sri Lankan nanny. None of them speak Arabic, and they can hardly speak to each other, but they run my household like a well-oiled machine.”

      There is also demand from expatriate families, with dual wage earners looking for professional cleaning services, part-time cooks and full-time childcare workers.

      “When I came from Seattle with my husband, we were determined not to hire servants,” says Laura, a 35-year-old teacher in an American primary school in Abu Dhabi. “But after we got pregnant, and I got my teaching job, we had to get full-time help.”

      “My American guilt about hiring house help disappeared in months!” she says, as her Sri Lankan cook Frida quietly passes around home-baked cookies. “It is impossible to imagine these conveniences back home, at this price.”

      Laura says she pays minimum wage, and funds Frida’s medical insurance – “all as per law.” But she also knows that conveniences for women like her often come at a cost paid by women like Frida. As part of her local church’s “good Samaritan group” – as social workers must call themselves to avoid government scrutiny – Laura has helped fundraise medical and legal expenses for at least 40 abused migrant workers over the past two years.

      Living isolated in a house with limited mobility and no community, many domestic workers, especially women, are vulnerable to abuse. Afraid to lose their right to work, employees can endure a lot before running away, including serious sexual assault. Legal provisions do exist – in many countries, workers can file a criminal complaint against their employers, or approach labor courts for help. But often they are unaware of, or unable to access, the existing labor protections and resources.

      “I never believed the horror stories before, but when you meet woman after woman with bruises or unpaid wages, you start understanding that the same system that makes my life easier is actually broken,” Laura says.

      In 2007, Jayatri* made one of the hardest decisions of her life. She left her two young children at home in Sri Lanka, while the country was at war, to be with another family in Saudi Arabia.

      It was near the end of Sri Lanka’s protracted civil war and 22-year-old Jayatri had been struggling to support her family since her husband’s death in the war two years earlier. The 26-year conflict claimed the lives of tens of thousands of fathers, husbands, sons and brothers, forcing many Tamil women to take on the role of sole breadwinner for their families. But there are few job opportunities for women in a culture that still largely believes their place is in the home. Women who are single or widowed already face stigma, which only gets worse if they also try to find paying work in Sri Lanka.

      S. Senthurajah, executive director of SOND, an organization that raises awareness about safe migration, says that as a result, an increasing number of women are migrating from Sri Lanka to the Gulf. More than 160,000 Sri Lankan women leave home annually to work in other countries, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Malaysia, according to the International Organization for Migration.

      Senthurajah says recruitment agencies specifically target vulnerable female heads of households: widows, single and divorced women and women whose husbands are disabled or otherwise unable to work to support the family. Women like Jayatri.

      When a local recruitment agency approached her and offered her a job as a domestic worker in the Gulf, it was an opportunity she felt she couldn’t turn down. She traveled from Vavuniya, a town in the island’s north – which was then under the control of Tamil Tiger rebels – to Colombo, to undergo a few weeks of housekeeping training.

      She left her young children, a boy and a girl, with her mother. When she eventually arrived in Saudi Arabia, her passport was taken by the local recruitment agency and she was driven to her new home where there were 15 children to look after. From the start, she was abused.

      “I spent five months in that house being tortured, hit and with no proper food and no salary. I worked from 5 a.m. to midnight every day,” she says, not wanting to divulge any more details about how she was treated.

      “I just wanted to go home.”

      Jayatri complained repeatedly to the recruitment agency, who insisted that she’d signed a contract for two years and that there was no way out. She was eventually transferred to another home, but the situation there was just as bad: She worked 18 hours a day and was abused, again.

      “It was like jail,” she says.

      “I spent five months in that house being tortured, hit and with no proper food and no salary. I worked from 5 a.m. to midnight every day.”

      In 2009, Jayatri arrived back in northern Sri Lanka with nothing to show for what she had endured in Saudi Arabia. She was never paid for either job. She now works as a housemaid in Vavuniya earning $60 per month. It’s not enough.

      “This is the only opportunity I have,” she says. “There’s no support. There are so many difficulties here.”

      Jayatri’s traumatic time in Saudi Arabia is one of many stories of abuse that have come out of the country in recent years. While there are no reliable statistics on the number of migrant domestic workers who suffer abuse at the hands of their employers, Human Rights Watch says that each year the Saudi Ministry of Social Affairs and the embassies of source countries shelter thousands of domestic workers with complaints against their employers or recruiters.

      Excessive workload and unpaid wages are the most common complaints. But employers largely act with impunity, Senthurajah says.

      “It’s like a human slave sale,” Ravindra De Silva, cofounder of AFRIEL, an organization that works with returnee migrant workers in northern Sri Lanka, tells News Deeply.

      “Recruitment agencies have agents in different regions of the country and through those agents, they collect women as a group and send them. The agents know which families [to] pick easily – widows and those with financial difficulties,” he says.

      In 2016, a man turned up at Meera’s* mud-brick home on the outskirts of Jaffna, the capital of Sri Lanka’s Northern Province, offering her a job in the Gulf.

      “They told me I could earn well if I went abroad and that they could help me to look after my family,” she says.

      Within a few months of arriving in Saudi Arabia, Meera, 42, couldn’t keep up with the long hours and strenuous housework. She cooked and cleaned for 12 family members and rarely got a break.

      Her employer then became abusive.

      “He started beating me and put acid in my eyes,” she says. He also sexually assaulted her.

      But she endured the attacks and mistreatment, holding on to the hope of making enough money to secure her family’s future. After eight months, she went back home. She was never paid.

      Now Meera makes ends meet by working as a day laborer. “The agency keeps coming back, telling me how poor we are and that I should go back [to Saudi Arabia] for my children,” she says.

      “I’ll never go back again. I got nothing from it, [except] now I can’t see properly because of the acid in my eyes.”

      While thousands of women travel to a foreign country for work and end up exploited and abused, there are also those who make the journey and find what they were looking for: opportunity and self-reliance. Every day, more than 1,500 Nepalis leave the country for employment abroad, primarily in Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, India and Malaysia. Of the estimated 2.5 million Nepalis working overseas, about 11 percent are female.

      Many women from South Asian countries who work in the Gulf send remittances home that are used to improve their family’s socio-economic status, covering the cost of education, health care, food and housing. In addition to financial remittances, the social remittances of female migrants in terms of skills, attitudes, ideas and knowledge can also have wide-ranging benefits, including contributing to economic development and gender equality back home.

      Kunan Gurung, project coordinator at Pourakhi Nepal, an organization focused on supporting female returnee migrants, says those who have “successful” migration journeys are often able to use their experiences abroad to challenge gender norms.

      “Our society is patriarchal and male-dominated, but the boundaries expand for women who return from the Gulf successfully because they have money and thus some power,” he says.

      “The women have left their village, taken a plane and have lived in the developed world. Such experiences leave them feeling empowered.”

      Gurung says many returning migrant workers invest their savings in their own businesses, from tailoring to chicken farms. But it can be difficult, because women often find that the skills they earned while working abroad can’t help them make money back home. To counter this, Pourakhi trains women in entrepreneurship to not only try to limit re-migration and keep families together but also to ensure women are equipped with tangible skills in the context of life in Nepal.

      But for the women in Nepal who, like Jayatri in Sri Lanka, return without having earned any money, deep-rooted stigma can block their chances to work and separate them from their families. Women who come home with nothing are looked at with suspicion and accused of being sexually active, Gurung says.

      “The reality is that women are not looked after in the Gulf, in most cases,” he says.

      In Kathmandu, Pourakhi runs an emergency shelter for returning female migrants. Every evening, staff wait at Kathmandu airport for flights landing from the Gulf. They approach returning migrants – women who stand out because of their conservative clothes and “the look on their faces” – and offer shelter, food and support.

      Of the 2,000 women they have housed over the last nine years, 42 have returned pregnant and 21 with children.

      “There are so many problems returnee migrants face. Most women don’t have contact with their families because their employer didn’t pay, or they have health issues or they’re pregnant,” says Krishna Gurung (no relation to Kunan), Pourakhi’s shelter manager.

      “They don’t reintegrate with their families. Their families don’t accept them.” Which could be the biggest tragedy of all. Because the chance to make life better for their families is what drives so many women to leave home in the first place.

      Realizing how crucial their workers are to the Gulf economies, major labor-sending countries such as Nepal, Bangladesh, India and the Philippines have been using both pressure and dialogue to improve conditions for their citizens.

      Over recent years, they have instituted a wide array of bans and restrictions, often linked to particularly horrifying cases of abuse. Nepal has banned women from working in the Gulf in 2016; the same year, India disallowed women under 30 from migrating to the Gulf. In 2013, Sri Lanka temporarily banned women from leaving the country for domestic work, citing abuse abroad and neglected families at home, and now requires a family background report before women can travel.

      The most high-profile diplomatic dispute over domestic workers unfolded between the Philippines and Kuwait this year. In January, the Philippines banned workers from going to Kuwait, and made the ban “permanent” in February after a 29-year-old Filipino maid, Joanna Demafelis, was found dead in a freezer in her employers’ abandoned apartment in Kuwait City.

      “Bans provide some political leverage for the sending country.”

      At the time, the Philippines’ firebrand president, Rodrigo Duterte, said he would “sell my soul to the devil” to get his citizens home from Kuwait to live comfortably back home. Thousands of Filipino citizens were repatriated through a voluntary return scheme in the first half of 2018, while Kuwait made overtures to Ethiopia to recruit more maids to replace the lost labor force. Duterte’s ban was eventually lifted in May, after Kuwait agreed to reform its migrant work sector, ending the seizure of passports and phones, and instituting a 24-hour hotline for abused workers.

      It’s well established that bans do not stop women from traveling to the Gulf to become domestic workers. Bandana Pattanaik, the international coordinator of the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women, has criticized bans as being “patriarchal, limiting to female agency and also ending up encouraging illegal human smuggling.”

      But others point out that the international pressure generated by travel bans has had some effect, as in the case with the Philippines and Kuwait. “Bans provide some political leverage for the sending country,” says Kathmandu-based researcher Upasana Khadka. “But bans do not work as permanent solutions.”
      ATTEMPTS AT REFORM

      Today, after decades of criticism and campaigning around labor rights violations, the Gulf is seeing a slow shift toward building better policies for domestic workers.

      “In the past five years, five of the six GCC countries have started to adopt laws for the protection of migrant domestic workers for the very first time,” says Rothna Begum, women’s rights researcher for Middle East and North Africa at Human Rights Watch.

      “The GCC countries have long cultivated the image of being luxurious economies meant for the good life,” Begum says. “This image is hard to maintain as labor exploitation comes to light. So, while they try to shut the reporting down, they have also been forced to address some of the issues raised by their critics.”

      Legal and institutional reforms have been announced in the domestic work sector in all GCC countries except Oman. These regulate and standardize contracts, mandate better living conditions, formalize recruitment, and plan rehabilitation and legal redress for abused workers.

      This gradual reform is due to international pressure and monitoring by human rights groups and international worker unions. After the 2014 crash in the oil economy, the sudden need for foreign investment exposed the GCC and the multinational companies doing business there to more global scrutiny.

      Countries in the Gulf are also hoping that the new national policies will attract more professional and skilled home workers. “Domestic work is a corrupt, messy sector. The host countries are trying to make it more professional,” says M. Bheem Reddy, vice president of the Hyderabad-based Migrant Rights Council, which engages with women workers from the southern districts of India.

      Many of the Gulf states are moving toward nationalization – creating more space for their own citizens in the private sector – this means they also want to regulate one of the fastest growing job sectors in the region. “This starts with dignity and proper pay for the existing migrant workers,” Reddy says.

      There have been attempts to develop a regional standard for domestic labor rights, with little success. In 2011, the ILO set standards on decent work and minimum protection through the landmark Domestic Workers Convention. All the GCC countries adopted the Convention, but none have ratified it, which means the rules are not binding.

      Instead, each Gulf country has taken its own steps to try to protect household workers who come from abroad.

      After reports of forced labor in the lead-up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Qatar faced a formal inquiry by the ILO if it didn’t put in place migrant labor protections. Under that pressure, in 2017, the country passed a law on domestic work. The law stipulates free health care, a regular monthly salary, maximum 10-hour work days, and three weeks’ severance pay. Later, it set a temporary minimum wage for migrant workers, at $200 a month.

      The UAE’s new reforms are motivated by the Gulf crisis – which has seen Qatar blockaded by its neighbors – as well as a desire to be seen as one of the more progressive GCC countries. The UAE had a draft law on domestic work since 2012, but only passed it in 2017, after Kuwait published its own law. The royal decree gives household workers a regular weekly day off, daily rest of at least 12 hours, access to a mobile phone, 30 days paid annual leave and the right to retain personal documents like passports. Most importantly, it has moved domestic work from the purview of the interior ministry to the labor ministry – a long-standing demand from rights advocates.

      The UAE has also become the first Gulf country to allow inspectors access to a household after securing a warrant from the prosecutor. This process would be triggered by a worker’s distress call or complaint, but it’s unclear if regular state inspections will also occur. Before this law, says Begum, the biggest obstacle to enforcing labor protection in domestic work was the inability for authorities to monitor the workspace of a cleaner or cook, because it is a private home, unlike a hotel or a construction site.

      The UAE has not followed Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia in stipulating a minimum wage for domestic workers. But it has issued licenses for 40 Tadbeer Service Centers, which will replace recruitment agencies by the end of the year. Employers in the UAE will have to submit their requests for workers through these centers, which are run by private licensed agents but supervised by the Ministry of Human Resources. Each of the centers has accommodation for workers and can also sponsor their visas, freeing them up to take on part-time jobs while also catering to growing demand from UAE nationals and expats for legal part-timers.

      “You focus on the success stories you hear, and hope you’ll have that luck.”

      B. L. Surendranath, general secretary of the Immigration Protection Center in Hyderabad, India, visited some of these centers in Dubai earlier this year, on the invitation of the UAE human resources ministry. “I was pleasantly surprised at the well-thought-out ideas at the model Tadbeer Center,” he says. “Half the conflicts [between employer and worker] are because of miscommunication, which the center will sort out through conflict resolution counselors.”

      Saudi Arabia passed a labor law in 2015, but it didn’t extend to domestic work. Now, as unemployment among its nationals touches a high of 12.8 percent, its efforts to create more jobs include regulating the migrant workforce. The Saudi government has launched an electronic platform called Musaned to directly hire migrant domestic workers, cutting out recruitment agencies altogether. Women migrant workers will soon live in dormitories and hostels run by labor supply agencies, not the homes of their employers. The labor ministry has also launched a multi-language hotline for domestic workers to lodge complaints.

      Dhaka-based migrant rights activist Shakirul Islam, from Ovibashi Karmi Unnayan Programme, welcomes these changes, but remains circumspect. “Most women who return to Bangladesh from Saudi [Arabia] say that the revised laws have no impact on their lives,” he says. “My understanding is that the employers are not aware of the law on the one hand, and on the other, do not care about it.”

      Migrant rights activists, ILO officials, the governments of source countries and workers themselves are cautiously optimistic about the progressive direction of reforms in the Gulf. “But it is clear that none of the laws penalize employers of domestic workers for labor rights violations,” says Islam.

      Rights activists and reports from the ILO, U.N. and migrants’ rights forums have for decades repeated that full protection of domestic workers is impossible as long as GCC countries continue to have some form of the kafala sponsorship system.

      Saudi Arabia continues to require workers to secure an exit permit from their employers if they want to leave the country, while Qatar’s 2015 law to replace the kafala sponsorship system does not extend to domestic workers. Reddy of the Migrant Rights Council says the UAE’s attempt to tackle kafala by allowing Tadbeer Center agents to sponsor visas does not make agents accountable if they repeatedly send different workers to the same abusive employer.

      For now, it seems the women working on the margins of some of the richest economies in the world will remain vulnerable to abuse and exploitation from their employers. And as long as opportunities exist for them in the Gulf that they can’t find at home, thousands will come to fulfil the demand for domestic and care work, knowing they could be risking everything for little or no return.

      Jahanara says the only thing for women in her position to do is to take the chance and hope for the best.

      “You focus on the success stories you hear, and hope you’ll have that luck.”


      https://www.newsdeeply.com/refugees/articles/2018/08/31/will-migrant-domestic-workers-in-the-gulf-ever-be-safe-from-abuse-2

      #travail_domestique #migrations #pays_du_golfe

  • Koweït : Des Africaines vendues et traitées « comme des esclaves » - Guardian

    http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2015/apr/02/women-sierra-leone-sold-like-slaves-domestic-work-kuwait

    In Kuwait the domestic workers business is booming, with nearly 90% of Kuwaiti households employing at least one foreign maid.

    Yet while dozens of recruitment agencies are pulling out the stops to attract potential employers – including parading women in front of potential employers who can take them home on the spot – they are also being accused of selling women and duping them into a life of domestic servitude.

    Women from Sierra Leone formerly employed as domestic workers in private Kuwaiti households said they had been “sold like slaves” by recruitment agents to families in the Kuwaiti capital and then resold multiple times.

    Each said that they had paid about £1,000 ($1,480) to recruitment agents in Sierra Leone on the promise of jobs as nurses in hospitals or in the hotel industry, only to find on arrival that they were to be offered to families as housemaids and expected to work for up to 22 hours a day.

    (...)
    Adama, 24, said that after being selected by a Kuwaiti family she was taken to their house and treated “like a slave”.

    “You have to work 24 hours [with] no day off. You can never leave the house … You are not allowed to use mobile phones. These people are not good.”

    Adama, 24, a domestic worker from Sierra Leone, shows the scars on her leg. She says they were caused when her Kuwaiti employer deliberately spilled hot oil on her. Facebook Twitter Pinterest
    Adama, 24, a domestic worker from Sierra Leone, shows the scars on her leg, which she claims were caused when her Kuwaiti employer deliberately spilled hot oil on her.
    Employers are given a 100-day guarantee by agents, which allows them to return domestic workers they are not happy with and get a refund. As well as keeping employers happy, this also creates a booming “second-hand” market where returned domestic workers can be resold to other families for up to two years.

    Thousands of women travel to Kuwait every year to work. Workers come from across Asia but also, increasingly, from Africa, with women being recruited by agents in countries such as Sierra Leone, Cameroon, Kenya and Ethiopia.

    Once employed as domestic workers in Kuwait, women find it difficult to leave if they suffer abuse. Under Kuwait’s kafala sponsorship system, domestic workers are not allowed to leave or change jobs without their employer’s permission. With their residency status also tied to their employer, if they run away they become “illegal”.

    Last year, stories of abuse suffered by Sierra Leonean women in Kuwait prompted the country’s authorities to follow other governments, including those of Indonesia and Nepal, in banning its citizens from being employed as domestic workers in the country. Yet they continue to come through informal channels.

    Despite the official ban, when staff from the Sierra Leonean embassy visited recruitment agents recently they found about 100 women from Sierra Leone on their books.

  • Monarques du Golfe, un effort pour les #réfugiés #syriens !

    Dans l’histoire de l’#ONU, c’est du jamais-vu, ou presque. Mercredi 3 décembre, à court de fonds mais non d’idées, l’une de ses agences spécialisées, le Programme alimentaire mondial (#PAM), a lancé un #appel_aux_dons sur les #réseaux_sociaux, pour pouvoir continuer à nourrir les réfugiés syriens. Lâché par ses contributeurs traditionnels (Etats et organisations interétatiques), en dépit d’alertes répétées depuis des mois, le vénérable PAM, fondé en 1961, a tendu sa sébile vers le grand public.


    http://www.lemonde.fr/idees/article/2014/12/06/monarques-du-golfe-un-effort-pour-les-refugies-syriens_4535939_3232.html
    #pays_du_Golfe #alimentation #aide_alimentaire