What is causing the rise of Ethiopian suicides in UAE?
SHARJAH – From two suicide incidents involving Ethiopians in 2016, the number jumped to 10 in 2017, according to the Ethiopian consulate in Dubai.
The latest cases involved seven men and three women, which police confirmed as suicides. A man hanged himself in September, while a woman slit her throat at her sponsor’s home less than 40 days after working there as a domestic worker. In December, two other Ethiopians committed suicide in Ras Al Khaimah and Ajman.
What has caused the alarming jump in suicide incidents in the country?
Ethiopian Consul-General to the UAE, Yibeltal Aemero Alemu, pointed to the “mistreatment” of workers as the main cause.
There are approximately 200,000 Ethiopians residing in the UAE, with many of them working as domestic helpers.
Alemu said that most of the complaints from Ethiopian domestic workers that are brought to the attention of the consulate were related to rape, abuse, harassment or non-payment of salaries.
He said that some housemaids who arrived in the UAE illegally are exploited by recruitment agencies and that their dire situation sometimes drive others to commit suicide.
Alemu, however, said authorities are working to improve the situation.
The consul general said that the Ethiopian government and the UAE are working on a labour agreement that is being finalised and would provide more protection to domestic helpers.
Under the UAE law, anyone who attempts to commit suicide will be prosecuted and will face a maximum of six months in jail and or a find of up to Dh 5,000.
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