KUWAIT CITY, April 9: A number of citizens participated in a survey conducted by the daily concerning the decision to lift the ban on the import of Ethiopian domestic workers, reports Al-Rai daily.
According to Sa’ad Al-Saqeil, psychological rehabilitation is not enough as it cannot guarantee that Ethiopian domestic workers will not commit the crimes that some among them had previously committed. “A man is capable of committing a horrible crime against others or himself even if he has been of normal psychological state throughout his life. It seems Ethiopian workers have a cultural problem which prevents them from merging in conservative societies particularly the Kuwaiti society”, he added.
Meanwhile, Umm Abdulrahman explained that Ethiopian domestic workers left behind their fingerprints that represent violent actions and crimes committed against a number of citizens.
However, this does not mean all of them are the same. She revealed that she had hired an Ethiopian domestic worker for four years, and the latter did all her tasks perfectly.
Also, Khalid Al-Qe’naei said he is surprised by the decision to lift ban on recruitment of Ethiopian domestic workers especially since some of the horrible crimes they committed had resulted in the death of young Kuwaiti girls. Furthermore, Dean of College of Social Sciences Dr Hamoud Al-Qasha’an affirmed that psychological rehabilitation of domestic workers is a good step.
However, he said limiting such psychological tests only for Ethiopian workers might put Kuwait in a critical political situation with Ethiopia. In addition, a psychologist at Kuwait University Khedr Al-Baroun indicated that such psychological tests are common in many countries worldwide, as they can expose some hidden issues. He stressed that these tests are available and are based on international standards, adding that they are translated into Arabic and are ready to be applied. Meanwhile, ambassador of Kuwait to Ethiopia Rashed Al-Hajri revealed about some conditions that were agreed on during his recent meetings with the Ethiopian Minister of Labor Abdul Fattah Abdullah for sending domestic workers to Kuwait.
These conditions included enrolling domestic workers to rehabilitation centers and ensuring they pass the psychological tests in order to avoid repetition of the negative incidents that had occurred in Kuwait previously, reports Al-Qabas daily. He said the Ethiopian side understands the significance of these conditions, indicating that the Ethiopian government established a number of rehabilitation centers in Addis Ababa and other provinces.
The ambassador stressed that a number of batches passed the tests during the period when domestic workers from Ethiopia were banned from working in the Middle East. He said he is expecting the relevant agreement to be signed during the visit of a delegation from the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Labor to Kuwait in the coming few weeks, adding that importing domestic workers might start before the month of Ramadan.
Meanwhile, Ethiopian Ambassador to Kuwait Abdulaziz Adam said the Ethiopian Ministry of Labor proposed a new agreement concerning the import of domestic workers to Kuwait, stressing that his government is waiting for Kuwait’s response. He indicated that his government’s suggestions are in line with the rights of the workers and aim at avoiding any violations or harms that could happen to them, as well as guarantee them their rights.
The ambassador stressed that the government has suggested fixing a minimum salary and specific number of working hours per day for the domestic workers as well as ensure they have the right to keep their own passports either with them or at the Ethiopian Embassy.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry says it plans to firmly apply a new law on recruiting household labour, a senior official warned on Saturday.
The ministry recently set the cost of employing domestic labour through a company at KD 990 ($3,267), and KD 390 ($1,287) for individuals. Strict penalties will be imposed on recruitment companies that do not commit to the ceiling imposed by the ministry, Undersecretary Khalid Al-Fadhel vowed in a press statement. The penalties could amount to a shutdown of the office and the confiscation of its license, Al-Fadhel stressed.
The ministry had granted recruitment offices a fortnight to offer their own cost estimation for recruitments so as to avoid any arbitrary action against them. It found a huge gap between their cost and that estimated by the Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry.