The Sri Lankan housemaid who was repatriated to Sri Lanka after she was subjected to mistreatment for over 15 years by her employer in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia today pleaded with all the Sri Lankan women not to go to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait for employment as housemaids.
Murin Jasintha, a 46-year-old mother of three made this request at a media conference organized by the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment Ministry (SLBFE).
Murin Jasintha, a 46-year-old mother of three and a resident of Muvunuwatawana, Chilaw was brought back to the country by the SLBFE a few days ago after she escaped from her employer where she was held without being paid for more than fifteen years, amidst physical harassment.
According to SLBFE reports, Murin went to Riyadh in 1999 at the age of 29, on an SLBFE registered working agreement.
However, after two months, the employer had refused to pay her monthly wages and not allowed her to get in touch with her family members. After the SLBFE officials intervened into the matter, the employer had agreed to pay her dues of Rs. 2.7 million in arrears for fifteen years.
“I was not paid, but I had to work for them continuously. When I gave letters to be sent to my children and husband, all of them were thrown out by my employer. One day when I was cleaning the house, I found some letters written by me to my children in a corner of the house. I felt very sad and helpless, but I stayed on ,” she said.
She also said that many changes had taken place in her family in Sri Lanka during the 15 years.
During the past 15 years when she was held in Riyadh, all of her three children have got married and they too are having children.
Further, she said her husband has started a new family with another woman.
“My husband is now living with another woman happily. I was not with them for 15 years. Anyway, I can be happy seeing them leading a happy life,” Murin said.
During the time she was accommodated at the Welfare Centre at the Sri Lankan Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Murin said another Sri Lankan housemaid whose leg was broken after being harassed by her employer, was also brought there.
“I have only one request to all the Sri Lankan women. Please don’t ever think of going to Saudi and Kuwait for housemaid jobs. The mother of my employer troubled me a lot. I tolerated everything for the sake of my children,” Murin said.
“While doing cooking and washing at the employer’s house, I was compelled to lift two cans of water of 10 litres each for more than 25 times per day. I had to go up and down the stairs of a 15 storied building. I tolerated every hardship I had to face. Once I had to undergo a surgery after diagnosing an illness in my belly as a result of lifting such heavy weights, continuously. I got 49 stitches on my belly. My dedication was bigger than those problems,” she said.
She thanked Minister Thalatha Athukorala for making all the arrangements to bring her back safely to Sri Lanka and the Sri Lankan Embassy in Riyadh for the assistance.
A cheque worth Rs. 2.7 million for her monthly wages in arrears which was refused to be paid by her employer was offered by the Minister to Murin.
Another woman named S.I.Asiamma, 47 was also brought back to the country by the SLBFE.
Asiamma who is not having a good memory relating to the details of her work place and the employer, has also faced many hardships during her period of work. The SLBFE offered Rs.150, 000 from the SLBFE fund for migrant workers. (Piyumi Fonseka)
We can't challenge Saudi laws:Thalatha
Responding a question raised by a journalist whether legal action could have been taken against a Saudi Arabian employer who has allegedly involved in an abduction of a Sri Lankan housemaid to intimidate her not to ask for a monthly wage, Foreign Employment Minister Thalatha Atukorala yesterday said the ministry cannot challenge such ‘systems of strict laws’ of Saudi Arabia.
“It is a great achievement that we could save her and bring her home. Legal action should not be taken, since we cannot fight with the strict laws of Saudi Arabia which is one of those big countries,” she said.
Video by S.M.S. Rathnayeka
ShameOnU Wednesday, 27 April 2016 04:11 AM
The ministry deciding not to file any charges because the salary was paid that sounds very fishy there are legal means in saudi arabia to make a complian. The ministry's claims are false i bet the officials got a cut to sweep the matter under the rug. Shame on you Mr. Athukorala i don't understand the purpose of your post.
Anony Wednesday, 27 April 2016 05:45 PM
These women don't have a choice but go to these countries. sadly they take this abusive treatment and work like dogs to look after their families. Since working in SL doesn't pay them much.... its messed up and sad.... changes have to be made.
Anja Wednesday, 27 April 2016 12:16 PM
Islamic law has been followed by them.via DM Android App
Nd Wednesday, 27 April 2016 06:18 AM
Shame on all the men who send their wife's daughter or sisters to work abroad and sit back home on their numbs. They will do a better job.
HR Wednesday, 27 April 2016 06:17 AM
This is a sheer Human Rights violation. This is the matter that need more attention on the MAY DAY but not political rally.We have MEGA size Ministries. What are they doing for the public???
kumaran Wednesday, 27 April 2016 06:03 AM
I am not a maid nor have I visited these M.E. "countries" but having read many articles of mistreatment of women in Saudi, I repeat: DO NOT SEND OUR WOMEN THERE.
SL Wednesday, 27 April 2016 06:03 AM
How much these poor people can save working as maids ?20,000 SLR per month? here there is a huge labor requirement in factories for monthly salary of 30K to 40K LKR, hope people will be educated regarding the savings thy can made by working in the country itself.
nihal Wednesday, 27 April 2016 05:49 AM
yes it is clear our authorities fear in filing a case against to the house owner. There should be justice to the injustice
sss Wednesday, 27 April 2016 05:29 AM
But madam, you request is not practical. Our professionals (who contribute nothing to economy while drawing large rupee wages) and politicos need the dollars you send to import their luxuries
Siva Tuesday, 26 April 2016 09:51 PM
This poor lady is nothing to lose. Husband Maried another woman. Children are grown . It is shame on The govt and husbands of all housemaids who work in abroad . I wonder why govt not bring ban on sending house maid to abroad . We r Srilanakan not slaves. Cannot blame Saudis 100% as some of them still have barbarians attitute.
Lanka Wednesday, 27 April 2016 03:50 AM
It's time Sri Lanka take care of it's citizens. We build large statues to show the world, but the world is seeing how Sri Lankan citizens are suffering.
nita Wednesday, 27 April 2016 03:44 AM
minister is wrong can file legal action via DM iOS App
Bala Wednesday, 27 April 2016 02:20 AM
What did the previous Foreign and Labour Ministers do for so long. What did the SLBFE do all the tiime. They only had a good tme. Thank you Thalatha for intervention now.
Naveen Wednesday, 27 April 2016 01:11 AM
Yes they have strict law but always give priority to arabian never punished an arabian unless they go against their god
moiez Tuesday, 26 April 2016 11:41 PM
The Sri Lankan government should ban sending our Sri Lankan women as house maids to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait as they know very well Saudi law but still our poor women they determine to go to Saudi Arabia and other countries.Its not due to poverty but they can't survive with their husbands salary that's why many uneducated women leave so the government should place a ban and also the Sri Lankan Embassy in Riyadh should take legal action against the employer where the maid who worked didn't get her salary for 15 years not just to show people and media the minister comes forward and presents the cheque bullshit stories.
Nemanja Tuesday, 26 April 2016 11:03 PM
If you don't want to send housemaids aboard, then why not you give them jobs locally? You can hire housemaids for your house works.
bbod Tuesday, 26 April 2016 10:58 PM
These are barbaric countries governed by laws based on superstitious nonsense. It would be a good idea to stay away from them.
Hassanda Tuesday, 26 April 2016 09:56 PM
Bull Shit All statement by the minister n SLBFE is Totally incorrect Saudi n Kuwait legal systems Does protect anyone including expats It's the Sri Lanka embassy in Riyadh at Fault not filing aCase wz the Labours courts in Riyadh n shud have taken the matter with the Saudi Foreign ministry n shud have Highlighted and should have claimed heavy Compensation for keeping her for 15 long years Violating her Labour contract Taking her unpaid salary it's not great achievement
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