Caritas Sri Lanka Director Fr George Sigamoney says he is deeply upset by the execution of Sri Lankan housemaid Rizana Nafeek in Saudi Arabia on 9 January. Caritas had fought for her release since she was sentenced in 2007 to beheading for strangling a baby she was looking after as a nanny in 2005. Rizana was just a minor herself when the tragedy took place. She maintains that it was an accident caused by her inexperienced efforts to save the baby from choking. "Unfortunately, what we expected to happen happened," he said. "As a representative of the Church and of Caritas I want to express my sorrow and solidarity to Rizana's family. I pray for them that they may have the courage needed to face their pain and get through this moment." "I want to remember Rizana in another way," Fr George said. "As a nation, we must reflect and weep for [...]
Across the world, vulnerable people—particularly women—are exploited when they go abroad as domestic workers. With no laws to protect them, housemaids suffer abuse, withheld wages and more. Caritas Internationalis has participated in an international advocacy campaign for the adoption of an ILO Convention regulating domestic work. The Convention (No. 189) with an attached recommendation (No. 201) was adopted on 16 June 2011 during the International Labour Conference in Geneva. It was a major breakthrough and the recognition of domestic work as real work. Caritas has joined with the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) to promote the ratification and implementation of Convention No. 189. The ITUC has launched the “12 by 12” worldwide campaign to have 12 countries, as a start, ratify Convention No. 189 by the end of 2012.
The 12 December 2012 is a worldwide day of action in support of decent working conditions for domestic workers, both adults and minors. Caritas has joined up with the International Trade Union Federation in asking 12 governments to ratify International Labour Organisation (ILO) ‘Convention 189’ by this date. Five countries, Uruguay, Philippines, Mauritius, Nicaragua, Paraguay and Bolivia, have so far ratified the convention. Ratification means that domestic workers have real access to redress mechanisms, when their contracts or their rights in general are not respected. It’s also a deterrent for employment agencies and employers who do not play by the rules. On 12.12.2012 we want added pressure on those government who have not ratified to do so and ensure millions domestic workers worldwide can now look forward to being treated with the respect they deserve. Caritas members in Latin America for example are urging all people who employ a domestic worker or who [...]
The UN International Labour Organization (ILO) has announced that a second country, the Philippines, has just ratified Convention 189/2011 for Decent Work for Domestic Workers. Uruguay was the first country to ratify this Convention last June. This is the second breakthrough after adoption by ILO members in June 2010. Caritas says it is now very important to keep international attention up on these set of rules, so that more countries who are ILO member States also ratify it. Ratification means also that domestic workers have real access to redress mechanisms, when their contracts or their rights in general are not respected. It’s also a deterrent for employment agencies and employers who do not play by the rules. In 2009, Caritas Internationalis started a campaign for migrant domestic workers’ rights. Many Caritas members provide services to domestic workers and had expressed their concern about the abuses such workers had to suffer. The campaign contributed [...]
Nepal’s August 2012 ban preventing women under 30 from working in Gulf countries is well-meaning but misguided, according to Caritas migration experts. The ban is intended to protect young women from suffering abuse while they work as maids in private homes. For years, Caritas has worked with survivors of such abuse. “We appreciate the government of Nepal’s concern for migrant domestic workers,” says Rupa Rai of Caritas Nepal. “But the problems women face in Gulf countries will not decrease because of this age bar.” Each year, hundreds of thousands of women leave Asian countries like Nepal, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the Philippines to work in Gulf countries such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Some are treated well, but others work long hours without being paid, often suffering beatings and sexual abuse. Instead of banning migration outright, countries should develop “better strategies to provide both safety and decent work for women,” says Rai. [...]
Caritas staff members and colleagues from six continents were in Rome for Caritas Internationalis governance meetings this week. They also had time to see a photo exhibit showcasing Caritas’ work to stop human trafficking and unsafe migration. The exhibit, hosted at the residence of U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See Miguel Diaz and funded by the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See, featured images of young women in Nepal who are at risk of being trafficked. The photographs, which were taken by Katie Orlinsky, showed rural and urban scenes of women in Nepal, one of Asia’s poorest countries. Caritas members around the world work together to raise awareness of false job advertising and other tactics that traffickers use to lure women into unsafe situations.