UNITED NATIONS SPECIFIC GROUPS AND INDIVIDUALS MIGRANT WORKERS

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, Jorge G. Bustamante

Bahrain Communications sent to the Government 1.By letter dated 19 September 2005, sent jointly with the Special Rapporteur on trafficking especially women and children, the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, including its causes and consequences, and the Special Rapporteur on sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, the Special Rapporteur notified the Government that he had received information regarding the alleged mistreatment of migrant women working as domestic workers in Bahrain. 2 . According to the information received migrant domestic workers, who typically live with their employers, are explicitly excluded from the protection of the 1976 Labour Law for the Private Sector. Many have to work 15 to 17 hours a day, seven days a week, and their employers often restrict their freedom of movement. Since their legal status in Bahrain depends on the continued visa sponsorship of their employers, migrant domestic worker who flee exploitative situations risk arrest, prolonged administrative detention and deportation. Their vulnerability is exacerbated by the fact that many employers take away their migrant domestic workers’ passports, a practice that is reportedly officially tolerated. In addition, public authorities often privilege employers in disputes involving migrant workers. 3 . In extreme cases, domestic migrant workers may also be subjected to physical or sexual abuse. Reference was made to the situation of Ms. A.B.J, an Indonesian girl. 4 . According to the information received, A.B.J., then aged 16, was recruited through a Jakarta- based private employment agency by a Bahraini married couple, who agreed to sponsor her visa and employ her as a domestic worker. Actually born in 1989, the head of her Indonesian home village helped to arrange for her a passport that falsely stated her date of birth as 1 August 1978. After A.B.J. arrived in Bahrain on 24 June 2004, her new employers took her passport away. 5 . On the evening of 26 June 2004, the employer touched A.B.J’s intimate body parts against her will. His wife was present when the incident occurred but did not protest. On the evening of the next day, after the wife had left the house, the employer forced A.B.J to watch a pornographic film, tore off her clothes and touched her intimately once again even though she screamed in protest. The next morning, A.B.J informed the wife about the incident but the wife did not react. 6 . Approximately one month later, the wife told A.B.J that she could earn additional money if she agreed to have sexual relations with men. On the evening of the same day, she was forced to leave the house with an unknown man. He took her to the premises of a factory where she was raped first by him and later by another man. The man told A.B.J that he had paid the wife to have sexual relations with A.B.J Even though she was bleeding and suffered strong pain after the rapes, A.B.J was not allowed to seek medical assistance. Instead, the wife gave her pain killers. 7 . In the weeks thereafter, A.B.J was forced to have sexual relations with a number of men, including the husband/employer. To diminish her resistance, A.B.J was given stimulant drugs, presumably Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (also known as Ecstacy). During the entire period

E/CN.4/2006/73/Add.1 page 5 she was confined to the house and not able to communicate by mail or telephone. Only on the occasion of a relative’s visit she managed to contact her employment agency in Jakarta with the relative’s mobile phone. The employment agency then organized her rescue. 8 . A criminal investigation was opened and the husband was detained for a brief period of time but then released. A forensic medical examination proved that A.B.J had had repeated sexual intercourse, but no blood test was taken to determine the nature of the drugs that A.B.J had been given. The husband/employer was indicted for rape and the wife for facilitating prostitution. A court hearing is scheduled to take place in September 2005. A.B.J’s former employers still retain possession of her passport and have neither paid her the wages agreed upon nor compensated her for the sexual violence suffered. Bahrain/Indonesia (see also Indonesia/Bahrain) 9 . By letter dated, 11 October 2005, sent jointly with the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, including its causes and consequences, the Special Rapporteur notified the Governments of the Bahrain and Indonesia that he had received information regarding the alleged mistreatment of Afiyah Binti Sapun, a migrant domestic worker from Indonesia working in Bahrein. 10 . According to the information received, Ms. Afiyah Binti Sapun, a 22-years-old Indonesian domestic worker from Central Java, was placed with an Egyptian family in September of last year by the Tihana Manpower Services Agency. Since last year Ms. Sapun has been working for her male sponsor, his two brothers and their mother. 11 . On 17 September 2005, Ms. Sapun was taken to the hospital (Salmaniya Medical Complex, SMC) after being severely beaten by her sponsor’s mother. She has a fractured left forearm, cuts to her head and scratches on her neck. The incident was reported to the police on 18 September. 12 . It is reported that, Ms. Sapun states that on Saturday 17 September at around 1 pm, she was beaten by the sponsor’s mother because she alleged that she "did not clean her bedroom properly". The sponsor’s mother squeezed Ms. Sapun’s arm until it was broken. Ms. Sapun also declares that she has been repeatedly beaten by her sponsor's mother ever since she began working with the family. When it was considered that she was late in completing a task, the sponsor's mother would scratch her neck with her nails or hit her in the mouth with shoes and on the head with a stiletto heel. The sponsor’s mother also cut Ms. Sapun’s hair without permission. Ms. Sapun also states that during the past year, she had only received two-month salary of $182 (BD68.600), which was sent to her family in Indonesia. 13 . After a year, Ms. Sapun’s family has only recently been allowed to contact her. In April of 2005, her relatives reportedly contacted the employment agency, which in turn contacted the sponsor, but he did not allow the agency to speak to Ms Sapun directly. Ms Sapun said she wrote several letters to her family and gave them to her sponsor's mother to post, but was not sure if they were ever sent. The Indonesian Consular Office is now arranging for Ms. Sapun to speak to her family. Observations

E/CN.4/2006/73/Add.1 page 6 14 . The Special Rapporteur would like to reiterate his interest in receiving the reply from the Government of the Bahrain regarding these allegations.

Indonesia/Bahrain (see also Bahrain/Indonesia) Communications sent to the Government 65 . By letter dated 11October 2005, sent jointly with the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, including its causes and consequences, the Special Rapporteur notified the Governments of Indonesia and the Bahrain regarding information he received on the alleged mistreatment of Afiyah Binti Sapun, a migrant domestic worker from Indonesia working in Bahrain. 66 . According to the information received, Ms. Afiyah Binti Sapun, a 22-years-old Indonesian domestic worker from Central Java, was placed with an Egyptian family in September of 2004

E/CN.4/2006/73/Add.1 page 14 by the Tihana Manpower Services Agency. Since last year Ms. Sapun has been working for her male sponsor, his two brothers and their mother. 67 . On 17 September 2005, Ms. Sapun was taken to the hospital (Salmaniya Medical Complex, SMC) after being beaten by her sponsor’s mother. She has a fractured left forearm, cuts to her head and scratches on her neck. She claims she has been repeatedly beaten by her sponsor's mother who was reported to the police on 18 September. 68 . Ms. Sapun said she was beaten up by the sponsor’s mother at around 1 pm on Saturday 17 September because she "did not clean her bedroom properly". The sponsor’s mother squeezed Ms. Sapun’s arm until it was broken. Ms. Sapun also claimed she was repeatedly beaten by her sponsor's mother since she was placed with the family. Every time she was late to do something, the sponsor's mother scratched her neck with nails, hit her in the mouth with shoes and on the head with a stiletto heel. The sponsor’s mother also cut Ms. Sapun’s hair without permission. Ms. Sapun also claimed that during the past year, she had only received two-month salary of $182 (BD68.600), which was sent to her family in Indonesia. 69 . Ms. Sapun’s family has been recently contacted after a year without contact. Her relatives reportedly contacted the employment agency in April 2005, which in turn contacted the sponsor, but he did not allow the agency to speak to Ms Sapun directly. Ms Sapun said she wrote several letters to her family and gave them to her sponsor's mother to post, but was not sure if they were ever sent. The Indonesian Consular Office is now arranging for Ms. Sapun to speak to her family Communications received from the Government 70 . By letter dated 15 November 2005, the Government transmitted information relative to the case of Aiyah Binti Sapun sent on 11October 2005. According to the information received exploitation and abuse of domestic workers abroad has been a matter of serious concern for several years. The Government even imposed a ban on the deployment of Indonesian maids to Bahrain due to reports of rampant exploitation and abuse. 71 . Regarding the case of Aiyah Binti Sapun, the Tihana Manpower Services agency tried unsuccessfully to contact her earlier in the year after receiving complaint from her family. Though the agency managed to speak to her employer they were not allowed to speak with Ms. Sapun. The Indonesian Consular Office was informed of the situation on 18 September 2005, by the Migrant Workers Protection Society and visited her the next day at the Salmaniya Medical Complex. Representatives from the Consulate and the Tihana Manpower Services reported the case to the police. Two police officers interviewed Ms. Sapun at the medical center and took a statement from her. A formal complaint was then filed against the employer and the sponsor’s mother. The Indonesian Consulate in currently endeavoring to re-establish contact between Ms. Sapun and her family. The Consulate is also cooperating with Migrant Worker’s Protection Society to file a case against her employer. Both also hope to ensure that she is reimbursed for unpaid wages. Ms Sapun hopes to stay in Bahrain and obtain work with another employer. The Consulate, working in collaboration with all relevant parties will continue to follow the situation closely.