Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Migrante Saudi files appeal in behalf of women-in-distress

News Release
02 January 2008

Migrante Saudi Arabia sent an appeal yesterday to newly-appointed Jeddah Consul General Ezzedin Tago in behalf of five women in distress including the most recent victim of multiple rape and a detainee who is on her seventh month of pregnancy.

The appeal sent through email, noted ConGen Tago's openness to “discussing the issues and activities concerning the community” as reported in local media.

The letter signed by Andrew M. Ociones, Coordinator of Migrante Saudi Arabia (Migrante KSA) highlighted the cases of Marie/Ana who was allegedly raped by three men on Christmas Day and Laura 'Aya' Torres, who was seven-months pregnant.

Humanitarian grounds

"Torres should be repatriated immediately on humanitarian grounds as her pregnancy is on its most sensitive stage," Ociones asserts. "Apparently, that is not how our consular staff saw it."

According to a case profile prepared by Migrante KSA, Torres was nabbed during a raid at their residence and charged with falsification of documents.

The case with the Immigration Police has since been resolved while she was in detention and should have been deported sooner if not for the lack of travel documents.

Migrante KSA notes further that if not for the suspension of the consular services ordered by Ambassador Antonio Villamor, Torres could have been repatriated already.

As reported in a local newspaper dated 15 December 2007, consular services was available only from December 26 to 27 and onwards from 2 January after the official holiday season in the Philippines.

In between, according to the report, "embassy and consulate officials will still handle emergency cases" since the suspension applied only to regular consular services such as passport and visa authentication.

"They should have considered Torres' case an emergency given her condition," Ociones laments further. “Or, they could have prioritized her case during the two and a half-day official working day, but they did not.”

Torres was still languishing in detention without any sign of relief.

Appeal for Justice

Migrante KSA filed a separate appeal dated 30 December 2007 for the attainment of justice for Marie/Ana, the alleged victim of multiple rape and attempted rape.

Marie personally detailed how she was allegedly raped by her employer on Christmas Eve then by two others who picked her up on Christmas Day when she ran away from her employer’s house.

The rape attempt by a fourth man was prevented after good citizens heard her scream for mercy and rescued her.

Contract violation

The appeal also included three other women household service workers who were facing different levels of the same issue of contract violation.

Noralyn Mamasalagat, 24, is only waiting for a plane ticket after her employer agreed to send her home. The employer however, would not provide for the ticket.

On the other hand, Zoraida Dukay and Rahima Aiko have not received their salaries for months from the same employer and is now being charged the return of their visa and deployment expenses worth SR 9,000 each.

The appeal in behalf of the women-in-distress was made after Migrante KSA received similar requests from the women’s relatives and friends.

The appeal in behalf of the women-in-distress was made after Migrante KSA received similar requests from the women’s relatives and friends.

A. M. Ociones
Coordinator, Migrante Saudi Arabia
Tel. No.: +966-56-679-3202

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