By ASSOCIATED PRESS ARABNEWS
AMMAN: Jordan has some of the region’s most robust laws on paper to protect migrant domestic workers, but human rights groups said Tuesday its failure to enforce them leads to continued abuse.
The New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the Jordanian legal aid center, Tamkeen, said many of the country’s 70,000 domestic workers from Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Philippines are subjected to beatings and their passports are confiscated by their employers, rendering them unable to leave.
Some have also been deprived of their salaries, despite legal milestones in Jordan over the past three years to protect workers rights.
The two rights groups urged Jordan to enforce the country’s laws guaranteeing regular salary payments, a maximum 10-hour work day and a weekly day of rest to curtail abuse by employers and recruitment agencies.
“Our main message to Jordan is you need the political will to treat domestic workers as any other worker. Now you have given them rights, you need to protect them like any other worker,” Human Rights Watch’s Jordan researcher Christoph Wilcke told reporters.
Wilcke suggested that if Jordanians who abuse migrants face prison and hefty fines, this could change how they treat domestic workers.
The Jordanian Labor Ministry has just five inspectors. Tamkeen’s director Linda Al-Kalash said the inspectors have not exercised their right to probe abuse claims. She also said that abuse cases are difficult to report to police in instances where the worker cannot leave the house to make the complaint.
Jordan has voted for, but has yet to ratify, the International Labor Organization’s Convention on Domestic Work adopted in June.
It obliges governments to ensure decent working conditions for domestic workers
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