Misery of the housemaids

While the lot of Kuwaiti women seems to be improving, the same cannot be said of foreign domestic workers in the country. Ill-treatment of housemaids – and the apparent lack of public concern about it – is an issue that The Angry Arab follows regularly. It is a problem in all Arab countries where large numbers of households employ maids, but he has documented some recent examples from Kuwait:

  • “A Sri Lankan maid sustained injuries and fractures after a failed attempt to commit suicide in Mubarak Al-Kabeer due to cruelty inflicted on her by her Kuwaiti employer, reports Al-Watan Arabic daily. According to sources, the Kuwaiti woman poured boiling oil on the maid and made her stand on the roof of the house. The maid then tried to end her life by jumping from the roof, but failed.”

  • “Oct 26: An Indonesian woman aged 32 years died after falling from the 5th floor of her building in Hawalli on Sunday … It is believed that she committed suicide.”

  • “Oct 11: Police have arrested an expatriate man and his wife for torturing their housemaid, reports Al-Rai daily. It has been reported the maid called police and when they went to the home of the suspects, the man claimed it was a hoax call. However, not satisfied with the reply of the man, the Rumaithiya police got a search warrant from the Public Prosecution and entered the home of the expatriate and saw the maid suffering from burns.”

  • “Oct 11: Acting on information police and an employee from the Philippines Embassy in Kuwait rushed to the home of an Egyptian family in Salmiya and convinced their maid to open the door after she had allegedly locked herself inside the kitchen and threatened to end her life, reports Al-Shahid daily.”

  • “Sept 28: An Iranian woman aged 40 years ended her life by hanging herself from the roof of the Misdemeanor Department in Salmiya on Monday. According to sources, the woman was arrested and referred to the Department after her sponsor registered an absconding case against her. It is believed that he wanted to deport her …”

  • "Sept 26: An Asian maid ended her life in her sponsor’s home in Waha by consuming copious amounts of cleaning detergent, reports Al-Watan Arabic daily."

  • “Sept 22: An Asian housemaid is said to have ended her life by hanging herself with a rope tied to the ceiling inside her room at her sponsor’s home in Ahmadi, reports Al-Dar daily.”

  • “An Indian housemaid, in her 30s, committed suicide by hanging inside her sponsor’s house in Abdullah Al-Mubarak, says Al-Seyassah. The maid’s sponsor called the Operations Room after discovering her lifeless body …”

Posted by Brian Whitaker, 29 October 2009.