Justice Upheld (at www.nyaya.org.uk) highlights plight of Indian migrant workers abused by Saudi Authorities
[Image of Indian nationals in Shumaisy Deportation Centre, located between the cities of Makkah and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia]
(London, 31 July 2015): Justice Upheld issues stark warning to Indian nationals seeking employment in Saudi Arabia, following the discovery of workers who escaped abuse at the hands of their Saudi employers.
Indian nationals leaving India due to lack of employment opportunities are travelling to the Middle East to find jobs. The ‘push’factor leads these ‘economic migrants’into the hands of unscrupulous intermediaries or ‘recruitment agents.’These criminal networks facilitate employment in countries like the Gulf States, in exchange for hefty sums of money. Due to a lack of understanding of rights in the countries they travel to, Indian nationals often find themselves unaware of their basic rights. Worst still many find themselves in situations where employers are violating their human rights, treating them more like slaves than employees.
Justice Upheld has been informed of incidents where employees in Gulf States are accommodated in substandard and dangerous accommodation. They are denied holidays, made to work inordinate hours, and in many cases have their passports stolen. Disturbingly, reports received by Justice Upheld indicate racial and religious discrimination is rife, and in some instances migrant workers are coerced into embracing Islam. Others are forced to work as HGV drivers, jobs for which they simply aren’t qualified to do, and which are furthermore force them to fall foul of local laws.
Inderjeet Singh, an Indian migrant worker from Haryana Punjab, revealed how he was taken to a Muslim priest in Saudi Arabia, with the intent to convert him to Islam.
Another, explained how he took the role of ‘personal driver’, only to discover his employer also expected him to work on a construction site at her property (for which he was unqualified). On refusing to work on the site and having terminated his employment, his employer requested a sum equivalent of £856, to ‘release’him from his ‘employment contract’. He was unable to pay and requested his passport be returned as his employer had confiscated it. He was subsequently reported to the Police and later referred to a detention centre. Justice Upheld helped repatriate Mr Singh to India in July, following a sustained and active campaign upon his behalf and his fellow compatriots.
Our organisation has previously been provided horrifying images, along with disturbing reports of the inhumane conditions found in Shumaisy Deportation Centre in Riyadh. Justice Upheld has flagged its concern with the Indian authorities, who have agreed to raise concerns with the Saudi authorities.
Jas Uppal from Justice Upheld said: “The abuse, torture and maltreatment of any human being because of their race, nationality or religious belief (or people of no faith) is absolutely intolerable and unacceptable. There is no place for this barbaric and savage behaviour. The International community must unite in their efforts to address and put pressure on the offending States as a matter of priority, to join the civilised world and completely eradicate and address this warped mindset.”