Oman is located to the south of the Arabian Peninsula bordering Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Yemen. Like other Arab countries, Oman is blessed with large reserves of ‘black gold’. And similar to other oil-rich gulf states, human rights abuse cases are rife in the country.
Whether corrupted by newly found oil wealth, or due to an inherent superiority complex, numerous hierarchies in the Middle-East treat non-native workers in an inhumane manner. In this article, we will shed light on the abuse of the foreign maids that have been the focus of attention by international human rights groups.
A Look at Foreign Maids Abuse in Oman
A report by a leading US-based human rights group has highlighted the plight of foreign maids working in Oman. Human Rights Watch (HRW) had stated that maids in Qatar are physically and verbally abused by their employers.
The expat maids that mostly belong to South Asian and African countries are subjected to abhorrent treatment. And according to HRW report, the government is doing nothing to address the prevalent abuse of the maids that they some verge on slavery.
The human rights group had documented sexual and physical abuse of the foreign maids. The agency had reported excessive long hours (up to 21 hours), confiscation of travel documents, and even a case of sale of a maid from one employer to another. The findings were reported after interviewing 59 domestic maids in the oil-rich Arab sultanate.
At the moment, around 130,000 foreign maids are working in Oman. The local laws do not offer adequate protection to these workers and let mistreatment of the maids go unpunished. According to the NY based human rights groups, the government puts a blind eye to maids being brought from countries that have put travel restrictions. It has mentioned an Emirati employment office in Al Ain that recruits domestic workers for the locals. Several maid workers had told the human rights agency that they were bought like a slave by the Omanis.
The HRW report has blamed Omani government for failing to take action against mistreatment and abuse of freeing workers. The report has stated that most of the maids had found themselves trapped after arriving in the country. Most are exploited, abused, and their plight remains hidden behind closed door. The abuses against foreign maids are carried with impunity and are generally widespread.
Oman along with Saudi Arabia and UAE has an abusive kafala system that robs foreign workers of their rights. The workers that enter through this system are prevented from going back to their home countries. The employment agencies put foreign maids on display like objects in shopping malls. They are sold to locals who subject them to inhumane and abusive treatment.