Lankan maid alleges sponsor poisoned her

Updated 01 June 2014
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Lankan maid alleges sponsor poisoned her

A Sri Lankan maid claimed that she was not paid, beaten and poisoned by her sponsor during her stay in Riyadh, according to a report published Friday in Colombo.
W. Amitha Kumari, a mother of two and resident of Iranawila, arrived home on a stretcher and had to undergo several operations on her stomach, according to the report.
Kumari claimed that her sponsor tried to kill her with poison and that she now cannot eat solid food and only have liquids fed through a tube to her stomach.
She claimed that no one came to help her over the last three months in Sri Lanka.
Kumari said she had been sent to the Kingdom by an employment agency. When she arrived in Riyadh, she was allegedly not paid her salary for three months. After arguing with her sponsor, she was given some money to send home to her children, she claimed in the report.
Kumari alleged she was then taken to a place where she had to care for 10 children including washing their clothes and cooking food for them around the clock.
She claimed that she was not paid for three months and that her employer refused to allow her to contact her family.
“I was not allowed to communicate with my family for six months. I didn’t eat food for three weeks because I was angry. They then beat me and threatened to kill me. I fell unconscious and they opened my mouth and forced me to swallow poison claiming it was medicine,” she alleged.
“When they took me to the hospital they told me to tell the doctors that I didn’t take anything. I was afraid for my life so I didn’t tell the medical staff what happened,” she claimed. “I stayed in the hospital for a month and told them that I wanted to go home.”
She said she was eventually put on a plane home with a saline drip still in place. “When I arrived home my husband admitted me to the Ragama hospital. For one-and-a-half months I was not given any solid food with only saline administered,” she said.
“They took many different tests and later I had to undergo surgery. After that they fixed a bag to my stomach and I was only given liquids,” she said.
“The doctors say that I have to undergo more surgery but are delaying it because I am physically so weak,” she said.
“My family is in a severe predicament and even the foreign employment bureau has not come to my assistance,” she claimed. She said she does not have money to educate her children.
Her mother-in-law, Malini Mendis, said that her son was a fisherman but did not make a lot of money. This resulted in her daughter-in-law seeking foreign employment, “but now we are in a worse predicament,” she said.
Mangala Randeniya, spokesman for the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE), told Arab News that the case has to be investigated because Kumari has made serious allegations against her sponsor and the job agent. He said the SLBFE would contact the Riyadh embassy to confirm the case.
The labor welfare officer at the Sri Lankan Embassy said that the case was not reported to the mission. “We do not know anything about this matter,” the diplomat said. However, he said that it was possible for such a case to have bypassed the embassy and taken up in Sri Lanka.


Saudi Vision 2030 ‘will boost competitiveness,’ WEF says

Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh landscape at night. (Shutterstock)
Updated 15 August 2018
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Saudi Vision 2030 ‘will boost competitiveness,’ WEF says

  • Many young Arabs who dream of living and working in Europe are not only interested in earning better incomes
  • To maintain our identity, we need to modernize our work environment

LONDON: Countries across the Middle East are struggling to create diverse opportunities for their youth, according to the latest World Economic Forum (WEF) Arab World Competitiveness Report.
However, a number of countries are innovating and creating new solutions to previously existing barriers to competitiveness, the report noted.
Saudi Arabia has committed to significant changes to its economy and society as part of its Vision 2030 reform plan, while the UAE has increased equity investment in technology firms from $100 million to $1.7 billion in just two years.
Bahrain is piloting a new flexi-permit for foreign workers to go beyond the usual sponsorship system that has segmented and created inefficiencies in the labor market of most GCC countries.
The report found that, despite huge improvements in infrastructure and technology adoption, government-led investment in the Arab world has not been sufficient to encourage private sector participation on a wide scale.
The WEF report, written in conjunction with the World Bank Group, outlines recommendations for Arab countries to prepare for a new economic context, better education opportunities and increased social mobility.
“We hope that the 2018 Arab World Competitiveness Report will stimulate discussions resulting in government reforms that could unlock the entrepreneurial potential of the region and its youth,” said Philippe Le Houérou, IFC’s CEO.
“We must accelerate progress toward an innovation-driven economic model that creates productive jobs and widespread opportunities.”
The report states that the way toward less oil-dependent economies for the Arab region is through robust macroeconomic policies that facilitate investment and trade, promotion of exports, improvements in education and initiatives to increase innovation among firms.