Ethiopian Consul-General to the UAE, Yibeltal Aemero Alemu, calls on employers to be humane in their interaction with domestic staff, referring ten Ethiopian compatriots committed suicide

By Aghaddir Ali ( |

SHARJAH, U.A.E.―Ten Ethiopians committed suicide in the UAE last year, according to the Ethiopian consulate in Dubai.

The suicides occurred in Sharjah, Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah and included seven women and three men.

A man hanged himself on September 27 last year and a woman cut her throat at her sponsor’s house. She had spent only 37 days in the country and committed suicide before her visa could be changed to an employment visa.

In December, two Ethiopians, in Ras Al Khaimah and Ajman, committed suicide.

Ethiopian Consul-General to the UAE, Yibeltal Aemero Alemu, told Gulf News that the number of suicides increased to 10 in 2017, a significant increase from the two recorded in 2016. The figures in 2016 and 2017 do not include Al Ain and Abu Dhabi.

There are around 200,000 Ethiopians living in the UAE with many of them working as domestic help.

Police investigations confirmed that all 10 cases were suicides.

Expressing concern at the suicide incidents, Yibeltal Aemero Alemu urged employers to treat domestic help with an understanding of their culture and background.

“The sponsor should be educated about the maid’s culture and religion and in turn, the housemaid should be familiarized with her new environment.

“If you are a sponsor, you have to train them and respect their rights. Mistreatment is the main cause of most crimes by domestic workers,” Yibeltal said.

Alarmed by the increase in illegal recruitment of Ethiopians to the UAE, the Ethiopian government had placed a temporary ban on its citizens looking for work as domestic and blue-collar staff in the UAE. However, the ban could be lifted “very soon” once the labor agreement between UAE and Ethiopia is finalized, Yibeltal said.

The agreement will include the scope of work, limitations, protection of maids, among others issues. Legal frameworks will also be in place to close all illegal channels through airports, immigration and all networks, and bring violators to justice.

The Ethiopian government is also working to finalize the establishment of an institute to educate those who wish to work abroad as domestic help in basic skills, in addition to teaching them the Arabic language.

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