Top Ethiopian official claims 'Reform due for workers'
THE death of a maid after a gas explosion illustrates why the Ethiopian government has banned its nationals from working as domestic help in the UAE, a top official from the African nation has said.
The Ethiopian Consul General in Dubai, Meshuga Arta Moach, was speaking after the death of 25-year-old Azeri Abebe, last Thursday, from injuries sustained in the blast at her employer’s home in Dubai.
Moach said the case emphasised how important it is that changes are made to the system as it highlights three major problems: Sponsors hiring employees through unofficial channels, the lack of medical insurance and the lack of a safe workplace.
Last month, Ethiopia made the unprecedented step of stopping all Ethiopians from coming to the UAE to work in a domestic environment following “many, many cases” of exploitation, according to Moach.
Last week Moach revealed the consulate receives more than a dozen calls every day, from domestic workers complaining about abuse.
However, he stressed his government is working closely with UAE authorities to draft a worker agreement that will guarantee the rights of Ethiopians. “We have a very good relationship with the UAE government and we expect to have an agreement very soon,” he said.
Moach said there had been a major fundraising campaign for Abebe, but insists it would not have been necessary if she’d had medical insurance.
“If there is one message I want to get across, it’s to appeal to UAE residents not to hire Ethiopian domestic workers through unofficial means,” he said. “Wait until we have reached an agreement with the UAE government.”
Abebe’s employer, Masood Salem, was behind the drive to raise cash for her medical treatment and he said the Dhs60,000 collected would be sent to her one-year-old son in Ethiopia.