INDONESIA is demanding an investigation into reports that a domestic worker was allegedly killed by her employer in Saudi Arabia and thrown into a garbage skip – the second case of maid abuse to emerge this week.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was speaking to reporters today after a cabinet meeting called to discuss the need to protect hundreds of thousands of Indonesian migrants who flock to the Middle East in search of work.
Too many of the migrants face slavery-like conditions, torture, sexual abuse and even death, human rights groups say.
Indonesian Minister of Labour Muhaimin Iskandar said on Friday an embassy team was dispatched to the Saudi town of Abha to look into allegations the 36-year-old maid, Kikim Komalasari, had been killed by her bosses.
Her neck was slashed and she had severe cuts to the rest of her body, Iskandar said.
“It’s shocking to hear this … it’s beyond inhumane,” Yudhoyono said, adding, however, he was encouraged so far by the Saudi government’s quick response. “I’m hopeful the perpetrators will be punished according to law.”
The report came as a team of Indonesian officials headed to the Middle East to seek justice and medical help for another maid, Sumiati binti Salan Mustapa, who has been in hospital 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.
The New York-based group Human Rights Watch this week 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,” said Nisha Varia, senior women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch, which called on authorities to investigate claims promptly and bring those responsible to justice.