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Mikael Tadelech, Ethiopian Affairs Minister
"She was badly treated for about two years"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 12 December, 2000, 18:18 GMT
Ethiopian girl on death row in Bahrain
Group of Ethiopian women in Teltele, Goma Gofa area
Ethiopian women are enticed by promises of better life in Arab states
The Ethiopian authorities are appealing to Bahrain to lift a death sentence against a 20-year-old Ethiopian maid accused of murdering her employer.

Yeshiwork Zewdu is accused of killing her employer using a meat cleaver.


She (Yeshiwork) was badly treated for about two years. She was not paid a single coin

Haile Mikael
The housemaid's case has heightened existing concern about the predicament of nearly 25,000 Ethiopian women working as maids throughout the Middle East.

The Ethiopian Government is calling on human rights organisations around the world to join a campaign for better conditions for migrant workers.

Ethiopia's Women's Affairs Minister, Haile Mikael Tadelech told the BBC that it was shocking for a girl of Yeshiwork's age to commit such a crime.

'Back-breaking jobs''

"It's a total shock for us. For a young woman to reach such a position, there must be something wrong going on," said Haile Mikael.

Bahrain
Most of Ethiopian migrant workers are in Bahrain
The minister said Yeshiwork's colleagues had spoken of how the girl had been subjected to physical and psychological torture for the past two years.

"She was badly treated for about two years. She was not paid a single coin," said Haile Mikael.

The Ethiopian minister said Yeshiwork had found it difficult to flee from her employer because she had lost her passport.

Yeshiwork is among thousands of young Ethiopian women who flock to the Middle East enticed by promises of a better life with high salaries and good conditions.

Faced with acute unemployment at home, many go to Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Bahrain or The Emirates to look for work as housemaids.

But government officials have confirmed that many of the girls are employed in back-breaking jobs for up to 18 hours a day and some are physically tortured and raped.

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See also:

13 Mar 00 | Middle East
Death by stoning appeal
13 Feb 99 | Middle East
Child torture case sparks outrage
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