Daesh blamed for Yemen care home attack, pope ‘shocked’

Updated 06 March 2016
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Daesh blamed for Yemen care home attack, pope ‘shocked’

ADEN, Yemen: Yemeni authorities on Saturday blamed the Daesh group for an attack on a care home run by missionaries that killed 16 people and was condemned by Pope Francis as “diabolical.”
Rival jihadist movement Al-Qaeda distanced itself from the mass shooting Friday in the main southern city of Aden, saying it was not responsible.
Gunmen stormed the refuge for the elderly operated by Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, killing a Yemeni guard before tying up and shooting 15 other employees, officials said.
Four foreign nuns working as nurses were among those killed.
The Vatican missionary news agency Fides identified the nuns as two Rwandans, a Kenyan and an Indian, adding that the mother superior managed to hide and survive while an Indian priest was missing.
Screams of elderly residents echoed from the home during the shooting rampage, witnesses said, recounting seeing the bodies of slain workers with their arms tied behind their back.
No group has yet claimed the attack in the war-torn country, where the internationally recognized government is grappling with both an Iran-backed rebellion and a growing jihadist presence.

'Devil's act'
An unnamed Yemeni presidency source in Riyadh said that those behind such “treacherous terrorist acts” are individuals who have “sold themselves to the devil,” in a statement on the official sabanew.net website.
“There was no trace of these groups, which go under the name of the Islamic State or (its Arabic acronym) Daesh” when pro-government forces were battling the Houthi rebels and their allies to push them out of Aden last year, the source said, accusing them of “switching roles” with the Iran-backed rebels.
In a statement addressed to the residents of Aden, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), also known as Ansar Al-Sharia, denied “any links to the attack on the elderly care home.”
“These are not our operations and this is not our way of fighting,” said the group, which has seized parts of southern and eastern Yemen.
Al-Qaeda has previously criticized Daesh for attacks on Shiite mosques in Yemen that left dozens dead.
Al-Qaeda and Daesh have stepped up attacks in Aden, targeting mainly loyalists and members of a Saudi-led coalition battling the Houthi rebels since March last year.
The Houthis controlled Aden for months before government loyalists pushed them out in July.
On Saturday, gunmen opened fire at a police patrol in Aden killing two policemen, a security official said.
President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi has declared the city to be Yemen’s temporary capital as Sanaa has been in the hands of the Houthis and their allies since September 2014.

Pope 'shocked'
The Vatican’s Secretary of State Pietro Parolin said that Pope Francis was "shocked and profoundly saddened" by the attack
“He sends the assurance of his prayers for the dead and his spiritual closeness to their families and to all affected from this act of senseless and diabolical violence,” Parolin said in a statement.
Violence has mounted in Yemen during the past year with more than 6,000 people killed since the Saudi-led coalition began its campaign of air strikes in late March 2015.
On Saturday, Hadi discussed the stalled peace process with UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed in Riyadh, sabanew.net reported.
“Goodwill gestures and confidence-building measures by releasing detainees, lifting the siege on cities, and opening safe corridors to deliver humanitarian assistance to besieged provinces... are necessities that must be met” by the rebels, Hadi told the UN envoy.
Saudi Arabia’s UN ambassador said Friday that he hoped peace talks could resume by March 15.
The United Nations says more than 80 percent of the population is in dire need of food, medicine and other basic necessities and the crisis ranks as a “Level 3 emergency,” the most serious in the UN system.


Amnesty urges Lebanon to help end domestic worker abuse

An Asian domestic worker walks her employer's dog in the Lebanese capital of Beirut, on April 23, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 29 min 27 sec ago
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Amnesty urges Lebanon to help end domestic worker abuse

  • Ethiopia and the Philippines have banned their citizens from domestic work in Lebanon, but still their citizens find ways to come

BEIRUT: Amnesty International on Wednesday urged Lebanon to end what it described as an “inherently abusive” migration sponsorship system governing the lives of tens of thousands of foreigners working in private homes.
Domestic workers in Lebanon are excluded from the labor law, and instead obtain legal residency though their employers’ sponsorship under the so-called “kafala” system.
But activists say this leaves the maids, nannies and carers at the mercy of their employers and unable to leave without their permission, including in numerous documented cases of abuse.
“Amnesty International is calling on the Lebanese authorities to end the kafala system and extend labor protections to migrant domestic workers,” the London-based rights group said.
“The Lebanese parliament should amend the labor law to include domestic workers under its protection,” including to allow them to join unions, the group said.
Lebanon hosts more than 250,000 registered domestic workers from countries in Africa and Asia, the vast majority of them women.
In a report released Wednesday titled “Their house is my prison,” Amnesty surveyed 32 domestic workers employed mostly in and around Beirut, revealing “alarming patterns of abuse.”
Among them, 10 women said they were not allowed to leave their employer’s house, with some saying they were locked in.
Twenty-seven said their employers had confiscated their passports.
Many worked overtime, 14 were not allowed a single day off each week, and several had their monthly salaries revoked or decreased, despite it being a breach of their contracts.
The labor ministry introduced a standard contract for domestic workers in 2009, but the forms are often written in Arabic, a language they cannot read.
The government in late 2018 said it had translated the contracts into several other languages.
Amnesty registered eight cases of forced labor and four of human trafficking, the report said.
Six reported severe physical abuse, while almost all had been subjected to humiliating treatment and several were deprived of food.
“Sometimes I would get so hungry... I used to mix water with sugar when I was hungry and drink it,” one worker said.
With the abuse taking a toll on their mental health, six said they had contemplated or attempted suicide.
Only four of those interviewed had private rooms, while the rest were relegated to living rooms, storage rooms, kitchens or balconies.
“There is a man in the house who can enter the living room any time he wants,” said one worker who was forced to sleep in the living room.
Activists accuse the Lebanese authorities of being lax in bringing abusive employers to account.
Ethiopia and the Philippines have banned their citizens from domestic work in Lebanon, but still their citizens find ways to come.
In 2008, Human Rights Watch found that migrant domestic workers in Lebanon were dying at a rate of more than one per week from suicide or in failed escapes.
Many other countries in the Arab world also follow the “kafala” system for household workers.