Daily Archives: March 22nd, 2012

Resolution in Support of Foreign Domestic Workers in the Middle East

WHEREAS, it is known large number of Ethiopian women travel to the Middle East to work as domestic workers, and often most of them are abused, denied their salaries, held in captivity, raped, and tortured by their employers; and,

WHEREAS, it is also known that majority of the governments in the Middle East exclude foreign domestic workers from legal employment protection; and,

WHEREAS, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and the International Labor Organization have to put more pressure on the Middle Eastern governments; and,

WHEREAS, the abuse of domestic workers is a human rights issue, which needs an in-depth understanding and a strategic solution within and beyond the Ethiopian community; and,

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the Ethiopian Social Assistance Committee has inaugurated its first public meeting on March 03, 2012, to create an advocacy task force to lobby governments and responsible parties on the plight of foreign domestic workers, particularly Ethiopian women, in the Middle East.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Ethiopian Social Assistance Committee calls on the governments of the Middle Eastern countries where the abuses occur, the Ethiopian government and governments of others countries that send domestic workers to the Middle East, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, and the International Labor Organization to find practical and sustainable solutions to ensure that the human as well as civil rights of domestic workers are fully protected.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Ethiopian Social Assistance Committee expresses its interest in collaborating with governmental and civil organizations that are already advocating for foreign domestic workers and are actively involved in alleviating the problem.

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, the Ethiopian Social Assistance Committee believes that women’s basic human and civil rights must be ensured, and reaches out to all concerned individuals to join the movement in raising awareness for the foreign domestic workers and in demanding that the abuse they face must be abolished.

For Immediate Release

Ethiopian Social Assistance Committee (ESAC)

First event held in celebration of Women’s History Month, advocating and creating awareness about the abuse of Ethiopian women in the Middle East

New York, NY (March 22, 2012) — The Ethiopian Social Assistance Committee held its first event on March 3rd, 2012, celebrating the Women’s History month by advocating for domestic workers in the Middle East.

The event featured a panel discussion that brought together activists from different walks of life, including Ammiebelle Omoshalewa, a life member of the NAACP and the National Council of Negro Women, Ms. Ghennet Girma, Director of International Ethiopian Women Organization, and Ms. Tsehai Wodajo, Director of Real (Resources for Enrichment of African Lives) of Minnesota. The chairperson and founder of ESAC, Ms. Zewditu Fesseha and the moderator, Tigist Selam, led the discussion highlighting the urgency of the issue with continued abuse of Ethiopian domestic workers in the Middle East.

The panelists presented various discussion points from economical and political issues, which they explained are driving the women to seek employment in these countries. They also discussed the lack of legal and cultural framework in the Middle East countries, leading employers to freely abuse the domestic workers. Ms. Omoshalew related the ongoing abuse to the days of civil rights movement in the United States, and charged the audience to fight on. Ms. Ghennet emphasized on solving the problem from its root in Ethiopia, while addressing the brutal treatment of domestic workers. In conclusion, Ms. Zewditu Fesseha emphaised that the challenge is very high but everyone could do it! She also suggested that everyone work together in order to achieve the goal. Ms. Zewditu Fesseha also asked that people use their professionally, technically, financial, to help the organization in everyway. She says, “Enough talking, action is needed!”

The audience on its part condemned the abuse of domestic workers, and discussed possible solutions to address the problem. Some of the points addressed include, the women living in New York City that have escaped the brutal experience in the Middle East and are seeking help, the political challenge in addressing the migration of domestic workers both in Ethiopian and host countries, and the lack of legal basis to fight for the right of domestic workers in the host countries. The audience was divided among the five borough of NYC, and during a working dinner, took on the challenge of exploring the abuse of domestic workers in five different states in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Kuwait.

The Ethiopian Social Assistance Committee is a non-profit organization. It is organized under the Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation law for welfare and educational purposes. The Ethiopian Social Assistance Committee vision is to support the youth and women’s rights, health, education and culture.

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