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Suicides of Ethiopian Maids in The Middle East

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on December 5, 2009

A recent spate of suicides by foreign maids in Lebanon is prompting outrage among human rights groups, who say the government is doing too little to protect migrant domestic workers from severe abuse.

Over the past seven weeks at least 10 women have died, either by hanging themselves or by falling from tall buildings. Six of these cases have been reported in local media as suicides and four more have been described as possible work accidents.

An Ethiopian woman working as a cleaner in Lebanon told CNN by phone that she was sad about the recent suicides, and that she had a friend who killed herself several years ago, when she too was working as a live-in maid.

The abuse faced by migrant domestic workers is a common problem throughout the Arab Middle East, both because of generally poor labor regulation and also cultural prejudice.

The responsibility lies primarily with the state. There are no inspectors who can check on working conditions. The laws need to be modified.

The mistreatment of these women and the absence of any government protection is not just in Lebanon — it’s in all the Arab countries,

According to HRW, more than one third of foreign domestic workers in Lebanon are denied time off and more than 50 percent work at least 10 hours per day.

In North American and European cities, whenever the Ethiopian immigrant population reaches the 300 mark, it is natural to discover Ethiopian shops, Cafés, Restaurants and similar expressions of sociocultural dynamism. But, this is not the case in Arab cities, where hundreds of thousands of men and women Ethiopian origin live for decades, even centuries. The fact that nowhere in the Middle East, except in Israel, a single Ethiopian restaurant is to be found says it all on the degree of tolerance in that part of alienating world .

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2 Responses to “Suicides of Ethiopian Maids in The Middle East”

  1. addisabram said

    Shame on us for betraying our homeland, shame on us for our deafening silence, shame on us for denying our brothers and sisters the solidarity they needed in this cold and cruel world. Shame on those international humanitarian organizations and news agencies for their conspiracy of silence to deliberately ignore the atrocious violations of human rights in Arab states.

  2. addisabram said

    The following Verse describes the current state of Ethiopia and Ethiopians perfectly.

    “And their houses will be handed over to others, their fields and their wives together: for my hand will be stretched out against the people of the land, says the Lord. For from the least of them even to the greatest, everyone is given up to getting money; from the prophet even to the priest, everyone is working deceit. And they have made little of the wounds of my people, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. Let them be put to shame because they have done disgusting things. They had no shame, they were not able to become red with shame: so they will come down with those who are falling: when my punishment comes on them, they will be made low, says the Lord.” Jeremiah 6:12 – 15

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