After execution, Sri Lanka to phase out maids going to Saudi
COLOMBO (Reuters) - Sri Lanka will gradually stop allowing women going to Saudi Arabia to be housemaids after a Sri Lankan was executed in the country over the death of an infant in her care, the Colombo government said on Thursday.
The Indian Ocean island nation recalled its envoy to Saudi Arabia in response to the beheading on January 9 of Rizana Nafeek, who was sentenced to death in 2007 accused of killing her employer's daughter while she was bottle-feeding.
The government said it would raise the minimum age for female domestic workers to be eligible to seek employment in Saudi Arabia to 25 years from the present 21 with an eye on eventually stopping such employment altogether.
"Gradual phase-out is the idea," said government spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella. "We can't stop it overnight. It's a gradual process and increasing the age limit is part of that."
A third of the two million Sri Lankan maids working abroad are in Saudi Arabia, according to the country's foreign employment bureau.
Expatriate worker remittance, the top foreign exchange earner in the $59 billion economy, hit a record $5.43 billion in the first 11 months of 2012, higher than its annual peak of $5.14 billion hit in 2011, central bank data showed.
Many households in the Middle East are highly dependent on housemaids from African and South Asian countries.
In some cases of reported domestic abuse, maids have attacked the children of their employers after they were mistreated themselves. In the case of Nafeek, the Saudi Interior Ministry said, the infant was strangled after a dispute between her and the baby's mother.
(Reporting by Ranga Sirilal; Editing by Shihar Aneez and Sonya Hepinstall)
- Tweet this
- Share this
- Digg this
- Islamic State fighters kill 220 Iraqis from tribe that opposed them
- UPDATE 7-Apple's Cook: "I'm proud to be gay"
- UPDATE 1-Islamic State fighters kill 220 Iraqis from tribe that opposed them
- Bike-riding US nurse defies Ebola quarantine, on collision course with governor
- Apple's Cook: "I'm proud to be gay"
A first group of Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighters entered the besieged Syrian town of Kobani on Thursday to help push back Islamic State militants who have defied U.S. air strikes and threatened to massacre its Kurdish defenders. Full Article
Sweden recognises Palestinian state, hopes will revive peace process Full Article
Clashes erupt as Israeli police kill Palestinian suspected of shooting Jewish far-rightist Full Article
Ukraine, Russia, EU likely to agree gas supply deal Thursday - officials Full Article