KUWAIT CITY, Jan 31: A number of human rights activists lamented that cases of violence against domestic workers negatively affect the international reputation of Kuwait. They praised the domestic labor law enforced in 2015, reports Arab Times daily.
Human rights activist and former head of the Human Rights Center in Kuwait Lawyers Society Lawyer Sheikha Al-Jlaibi stressed that the issuance of the domestic labor law in 2015 and its executive decree in 2016 was quite delayed, as domestic workers have existed in Kuwait since 1960s.
Such a delay resulted in accumulation of several problems related to domestic labor. She said many individuals ignore the provisions of the law and treat their domestic workers with violence, which is a form of slavery as per certain criteria.
Al-Jlaibi revealed that many domestic workers have committed suicide or attempted to commit suicide due to bad and violent treatments they had to endure.
Meanwhile, human rights activist Dr. Rana Al-Abdulrazzaq said there is evidence to prove that domestic workers are considered as slaves. She indicated some advertisements that contain phrases such as “Servant for Sale,” lamenting that the concerned authorities were informed about such dangerous actions but they did not take any relevant action.
Furthermore, Head of the Development and Training Center in Kuwait Society for Human Rights Lawyer Mohammad Za’ar Al-Otaibi praised the domestic labor law, stressing that the issue requires increased coordination and cooperation among different authorities, and awareness must be raised concerning rights of domestic laborers.
Also, domestic labor bureaus affirmed their readiness to seek alternative sources in case the Philippines enforces its decision to ban sending domestic workers to Kuwait. In this regard, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged Kuwait to ensure accurate enforcement of the new domestic labor law, affirming that the previous law, which was enforced on June 24, 2015, was good and should be followed in rest of the Gulf countries.
It also called for fixing the flaws in the law, stressing that, even though employers are not allowed to seize the passports of their employees, no penalty has been specified in the law for the violators. It added that the law does not have any clause that can allow domestic workers to form labor unions.