Saudi Arabia suspends recruitment of Sri Lankan workers
Published: 11th Oct 2010 15:48:21
Saudi Arabia has suspended the recruitment of workers from Sri Lanka following a housemaid's claims that nails and needles were forced into her.
Doctors removed 13 nails and five needles from the Sri Lankan maid in August. She said her employer had hammered them into her body.
LP Ariyawathie, 49, told staff in Colombo that her employer had inflicted the injuries as a punishment.
Saudi officials say her claims are baseless and harmful to their country.
A spokesman in the Saudi government told the BBC that the main reason for the suspension was not Ms Ariyawathie's claims but the Sri Lankan authorities's failure to train maids adequately.
They say the new ban will not affect more than 500,000 workers from Sri Lanka already in the country, most of whom are women. But it will affect Sri Lankans applying to renew a visa or get one for the first time.
In the first half of this year nearly 20,000 Sri Lankans went to Saudi Arabia to work.
Ms Ariyawathie travelled to Saudi Arabia in March to become a housemaid.
She flew back to Sri Lanka in August and was admitted to hospital in the south of the island, where she told doctors she had undergone abuse for more than a month.
X-rays showed that there were 24 nails and needles in Ms Ariyawathie's legs and hands.
The nails were up to 2in (5cm) long, a hospital official said.
The mother of three had three hours of surgery to have most removed. Further surgery to remove the remainder may be required.
The Sri Lankan authorities also launched an investigation into the incident in addition to launching a strong protest with the Saudi government.
Around 1.8 million Sri Lankans are employed abroad, 70% of whom are women.
Most work as housemaids in the Middle East, while smaller numbers work in Singapore and Hong Kong.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2010. Saudi Arabia suspends recruitment of Sri Lankan workers. [Online] (Updated 11 Oct 2010)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news.php/97930-Saudi-Arabia-suspends-recruitment-of-Sri-Lankan-workers [Accessed 17th May 2013]
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