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» 11/05/2013
SAUDI ARABIA - PHILIPPINES
Thousands of Filipino migrants treated "like animals" by Saudi authorities
More than 6,700 Filipino workers are detained across the country. The first who returned home tell stories of violence and abuses by police. On Sunday, Riyadh began its crackdown on undocumented immigrants. The step was supposed to begin last January but was suspended until now to allow workers to apply for amnesty.

Riyadh (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Filipino workers were treated like animals, locked in a cell for days with their feet shackled, this according to 30 Filipino migrants deported by the Saudi government after an after amnesty for undocumented foreigners ended on Sunday. The Filipino government estimates that at least 6,700 undocumented Filipino workers are held in prison in Jeddah and other cities of the Islamic country.

"They treated us like animals," said domestic helper Amor Roxas, 46, who talked about her ordeal after returning home with 29 other Filipinos. Saudi police rounded people up and placed them in a crowded cell for four days, she explained, without any possibility of outside assistance.

"Our feet were chained," added Yvonne Montefeo, 32. Saudi authorities, she said, shackled them fearing they might escape.

Migrante International, a support group for Filipino overseas workers, said 1,700 other workers are stranded in Jeddah waiting to be deported. An additional 5,000 are held in Riyadh, Al Khobar and Dammam.

The migrant rights organisation warned that Filipinos are in danger of violence and arbitrary detention by Saudi authorities.

Filipino Vice President Jejomar Binay, who is also presidential adviser on migrant affairs, last week appealed to the Saudi government to extend its deadline, noting that "thousands are still hoping to correct their employment status".

About 300,000 Filipinos work in Saudi Arabia, exploited and poorly paid, as well as victims of verbal and physical abuse because of their Christian faith.

Saudi Arabia's crackdown on undocumented workers began in January of this year, but was suspended for a few months to allow millions of migrant workers get a permit.

According to Filipino authorities, more than 4,000 Filipinos have been repatriated since the crackdown was announced.


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See also
06/05/2010 PHILIPPINES - SAUDI ARABIA
Filipino nurses in Riyadh against the centre of assistance to migrants: they have abandoned us
10/07/2010 PHILIPPINES - SAUDI ARABIA
Saudi Arabia: conditional release for 12 Filipinos accused of proselytizing
01/28/2010 PHILIPPINES – SAUDI ARABIA
Christian Filipino migrants forced to convert to Islam
by Santosh Digal
02/22/2010 PHILIPPINES - SAUDI ARABIA
Catholic migrant in Saudi Arabia: Three years without a day of rest and mass
by Santosh Digal
03/17/2012 SAUDI ARABIA - PHILIPPINES
Saudi Arabia, 70% of Filipino domestic workers suffer physical and psychological violence

Editor's choices
ISLAM - MIDDLE EAST
Al Azhar and Vatican against terrorism. The ambiguity of the international community
by Bernardo CervelleraThe influential Sunni university denounces " heinous" violence of the Islamic state and demands the world defeat this group “through every possible means". Vatican: terrorism is a threat to all humanity. France claims to fight terrorism, but then sells weapons, aircraft, helicopter gunships to Saudi Arabia, which supports Islamic fundamentalism. Kuwait tolerates Salafis who support the Nusra Front and the Islamic state. Turkey against the Kurds; the United States against Iran, Russia and China.
TUNISIA - ISLAM
Tunis, stop terrorism by closing fundamentalist mosquesPresident Essebsi believes unified and global strategy needed to counter terrorism. The attack in Sousse almost simultaneous with those in France, Kuwait, Somalia. Islamic State claims responsibility.
VATICAN – ITALY
Pope in Turin tells young people to be chaste in love, go against the flow and not retire at 20In his last meeting on the first day of his visit to Turin, Francis met young people in Vittorio Square. In a Question and Answer exchange, he talked about love, friendship and loss of trust towards life. "I understand you. How many hypocrites speak of peace and sell weapons. How can one trust? By following Christ, whose act of extreme love, i.e. the Cross, saved humanity." The pontiff also looked at the horrors of the 20th century as evidence of the loss of trust towards world powers. He urged young people “not to retire at 20,” but “live, don’t just exist.”

Dossier

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