News Brief

This Horrific Video of an Ethiopian Domestic Worker Falling in Kuwait Must Prompt Change

This video is one more reminder that African and Asian domestic workers in the Middle East are subject to unimaginable abuses at the hands of employers.

Be warned, this is not easy to watch.


This morning, the respected Middle East-based journalist Jenan Moussa posted a video to her Twitter of an Ethiopian domestic worker in Kuwait clinging to the seventh floor balcony and crying for help as her employer films it on her phone. We've embedded it at the bottom of the post.

According to this AFP report, the 12 second video was filmed and posted to social media by the woman's employer who has since been detained by Kuwaiti police.

From the AFP:

The woman holding the camera is heard telling the hanging maid: "Oh crazy, come back."

The terrified maid is seen screaming "hold me, hold me", just before her hand slips and she falls down to hit the awning, which appears to soften the impact.

The employer made no reaction as she continued filming.

The woman survives but according to the article has suffered serious injuries.

The video has spurred talk on social media about the abuses guest workers in the Gulf states—female domestic workers especially—suffer at the hands of their employers. Reports of physical and sexual abuse, imprisonment and wage theft are routine in this industry that sees hundreds of thousands of women from across Africa and Asia who go, or are brought, to the region to work in affluent households.

Kuwait alone is said to be home to 600,000 foreign domestic workers while the United Arab Emirates, according to Human Rights Watch is home to upwards of 146,000. Saudi Arabia and Lebanon are other countries with particularly dismal stories of migrant labor abuse. The horrific conditions have long come under fire from international human rights organizations as well as local groups and the women themselves, some of whom are agitating for better working conditions.

The video and some of Moussa's tweets are embedded below:

 

News Brief
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Six Things History Will Remember Kenneth Kaunda For

News of Kenneth David Kaunda's passing, at age 97, has reverberated across the globe. Kaunda, affectionately known as KK, was Zambia's first President from 1964 to 1991.

Following Nelson Mandela's passing in December 2013, Kenneth Kaunda became Africa's last standing hero. Now with his passing on Thursday, June 17 — after being admitted to the Maina Soko Military Hospital in Lusaka earlier in the week — this signals the end of Africa's liberation history chapter.

It is tempting to make saints out of the departed. The former Zambian struggle hero did many great things. He was, after all, one of the giants of the continent's struggle against colonialism. Ultimately however, he was a human being. And as with all humans, he lived a complicated and colourful life.

Here are six facts you might not have known about him.

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