Amnesty appeals to Saudi over Indonesian maid

Amnesty Amnesty International appealed to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states on Wednesday to do more to protect migrant domestic workers after the alleged abuse of an Indonesian maid in the oil-rich kingdom.

The London-based human rights watchdog said the maid’s treatment, which Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Tuesday described as “extraordinary torture,” was all too characteristic of the plight of foreign workers in the region.

“Women who go to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries to be domestic workers face abuse and exploitation,” the watchdog’s Middle East and North Africa director, Malcolm Smart, said.

“At the root of the problem is the failure of the governments of the Gulf states to uphold the rights of women migrant domestic workers. Workers from countries like Indonesia, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka underpin the Gulf states’ economies — it is high time that they got a fair deal,” he said.

Sumiati Binti Salan Mustapa, 23, was reported to be in a stable condition on Tuesday in a hospital in the Saudi city of Medina, where she has been receiving treatment since November 8 for wounds including gashes to her lips and face caused by scissors.

The Indonesian president said he would dispatch a team to the kingdom to follow up on the case, a day after his government summoned the Saudi ambassador to express its deep concern.
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