Filed under: Kuwait | Tags: campaign, Domestic worker, domestic workers rights, Human rights, Kuwait, Migrant worker, put yourself in her shoes campaign
This is a great humanity campaign that should not be pass by without being noticed, if you noticed it and grasped the idea behind it, then please don’t let go unless you SEE some change on the life of these workers and how their employers are acting toward them.
I’ve read the full article on Frankom’s and ever since I wanted to share the thoughts, AWARENESS, and humanity with him and also my other fellow bloggers:
Kuwait: Put Yourself in Her Shoes Campaign
Human Rights-Based Drive to Reveal Abuses and Improve Conditions for Domestic Workers
(Kuwait City, October 3, 2010) – Advocacy groups that have reported on violations of domestic workers’ rights in Kuwait today began an intensive advertising and outreach campaign to promote respect for the rights of these workers. The Kuwait Human Rights Society; The Kuwait Society for Basic Evaluators of Human Rights; The Kuwait Center for Expatriates’ Rights; and the Kuwait Social Work Society joined with Human Rights Watch, which documents human rights abuses worldwide, to raise awareness of the abuses faced by domestic workers in Kuwait.
The campaign is an effort to shine a spotlight on abuses that too often remain hidden in private homes and outside the law’s reach. Employers in Kuwait too often violate domestic workers’ rights under both Kuwaiti and international law, the group said. The coalition is urging Kuwait to protect domestic workers’ rights under its labor laws, and to grant them the same rights that other workers now have, including limited work hours, on-time payment of wages, and a weekly day off.
“This campaign is a call to action for every person in Kuwait to treat domestic workers with dignity and respect for their rights,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “We hope to send lawmakers the message that there are many in Kuwait who care about domestic workers’ rights and who want to see the government step up its protections.”
The campaign invites employers to imagine themselves in the place of domestic workers, with a series of advertisements based on the theme, “Put Yourself in Her shoes.” Each advertisement asks viewers to consider how they would feel if subjected to some of the common violations these migrant workers face. “Have you ever worked for months without pay?” one reads. “Have you ever been locked up in your workplace?”
Over 660,000 domestic workers come from countries including India, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Indonesia, Nepal, and Ethiopia to live and work in Kuwait. While some employers respect their rights, many others violate contractual working hours and don’t pay wages on time, allow workers to keep their own passports, or give them a regular day off outside the home.
The messages are aimed at women who supervise households and manage domestic staff, the groups said. They also target the country’s youth, to promote activism on this issue of global significance among the next generation.
The advertising campaign is part of a larger advocacy effort that will include outreach to Kuwaiti legislators, talks at Kuwaiti universities and community groups, panel discussions with local advocates, and a photo exhibition.
“Our goal is to ensure decent working conditions for the half-million domestic workers in Kuwait who currently have the fewest protections of all workers.”
said Bibi al-Sabah, President of the Kuwait Social Work Society.
On October 6, 2010, Human Rights Watch will release a report documenting the way in which Kuwaiti laws and policies enable abuse, at a press conference in Kuwait City.
On September 26, 2010, the government said it would abolish the country’s sponsorship system in February, 2011. The coalition called upon the government to ensure that the promised sponsorship reforms will also include improved protection of domestic workers’ rights, and incorporate civil society feedback.
“Giving an employer complete power over a worker’s visa, as the kafala system does, makes workers extremely vulnerable to abuse and exploitation,” said Jamal Otaibi, president of the Kuwait Center for Expatriates’ Rights. “In its promise to abolish this system, the government should ensure that the new system allows workers the freedom to change jobs or terminate employment, without triggering cancellation of their visa and “absconding” charges. They should also include mechanisms to monitor and prevent abuse of workers’ rights.”
For more information on the campaign, including a calendar of events, please join us on Facebook at the Campaign for Domestic Workers’ Rights – Kuwait / حملة لحقوق العمالة المنزلية في الكويت
For more information on domestic worker advocacy worldwide, please see:
Human Rights Watch, Dignity Overdue: Decent Work for Domestic Workers (http://www.hrw.org/en/video/2010/04/27/dignity-overdue-decent-work-domestic-workers)
For more information, please contact:
In Kuwait City:
Priyanka Motaparthy (Researcher, Middle East and North Africa division and Women’s Rights division, Human Rights Watch): +965-6004-3704; or +1-917-744-4004
Ali al-Baghli (President, Kuwait Human Rights Society): +965-2481-1593
Dr. Adil al-Damkhi (President, Kuwait Society for Fundamental Human Rights): +965-9989-2229
Faisal al-Masoud (Vice-President, Kuwait Society for Social Work): +965-9771-8844
Jamal Otaibi (President, Kuwait Center for Expatriates’ Rights): +965-6666-3050
In New York:
Sarah Leah Whitson (Director, Middle East and North Africa division, Human Rights Watch): +1-718-362-0172
Nisha Varia (Senior Researcher, Women’s Rights division, Human Rights Watch): +1-917-617-1041