BEIRUT

Middle East

Saudi Arabia bans Ethiopian workers

A general view of a housing compound in south of Riyadh, December 17, 2012. REUTERS/Fahad Shadeed

RIYADH: Saudi authorities banned on Wednesday Ethiopian workers from entering the country following reports of crimes against children committed by maids from the African nation.

The labour ministry and the interior ministry have agreed to "temporarily" stop the importation of workers from Ethiopia, SPA state news agency said.

It said the ban will remain in place until the completion of investigation into "recent incidents", in reference to crimes reported in local media.

Several media outlets have reported instances of children being killed allegedly by Ethiopian domestic workers, including two cases in the capital.

The oil-rich kingdom, which hosts some eight million foreign workers, mostly from South Asian nations, introduced this week new rules setting the rights for domestic workers, including getting a weekly day off and being paid on time.

But it also urged workers to respect Islam, the religion of the ultra-conservative kingdom, and to "obey" employers.

 

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