Monday, August 17, 2009

OFWs in Qatar denounces arrest

Press Statement
16th August 2009

OFWs in Qatar denounces arrest of Migrante leaders in KSA

The Organizing Committee of Migrante-Qatar strongly denounces the arrest of 10 members and officers of the Kapatiran sa Gitnang Silangan (KGS) and three service workers in Riyadh , Kingdom of Saudi Arabia . Among those arrested were women and OFWs seeking advice for their problems.

The arrests happened after the KSA police raided the KGS safehouse at about 3:00 pm last Friday while the KGS was conducting its regular weekly case dialogue and counseling to distressed women OFWs who ran away from abusive situation with their employers. As reported by Migrante Middle East Regional Coordinator John Leonard Monterona, majority of those arrested are still awaiting for their release after the KGS asserted that it is a legitimate group conducting welfare services to those in need.

Migrante members in Qatar are saddened to know that most of our OFWs are experiencing maltreatment and abuse from their employers. Many are left with no options except to run away and seek immediate support to organizations such as the KGS.

The Middle East region that includes Qatar is a major destination for Filipinos who have been forced by the dire situation in our country to go abroad. Unfortunately, it is also a hotbed of problems as countless OFWs experience various types of abuses in their workplaces.

What happened to the KGS leaders and members is alarming for it threatens to further tighten the already limited recourse for assistance for OFWs in need. The incident does not bring any solace either to KGS, whose pursuit is to help alleviate the agony of distressed OFWs, or to OFWs with problems whose hope is to voice out their sufferings and avail the justice that is due to them.

If “running away” from employers due to unbearable maltreatment and abuse is somewhat a criminal offense in the host country, then how do they categorize or name an act of abuse committed by the employer towards their employees?

Migrante Organizing Committee in Qatar calls on to Philippine officials to do their utmost to facilitate the release of the arrested OFWs and do their best to prevent such an incident from happening again.

We also call for the support of the Filipino communities not only in KSA but to the rest of the Filipino communities in the entire Middle East countries to be more vigilant and help in promoting the best welfare of Filipino OFW’s. Each one of us should do our share to uphold and protect our human rights and safeguard our dignity as a person and as Filipinos.


Roberto Beltran


Migrante Organizing Committee in Qatar

Mobile no. 00974 7552305

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