Justice for Rizana Nafeek!
This was the message brought forth by around 30 protesters at the consulate general of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia today as the Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants and International Migrants’ Alliance Hong Kong and Macau chapter led a picket action condemning the execution of Rizana Nafeek.
Rizana Nafeek was a Sri Lankan domestic worker sentenced to death by beheading by the KSA government after being found guilty of killing her 4-month old ward in 2005. During the time of the investigation and hearing of the case, she did not have full access to complete translation and even to a legal counsel. The body of the baby was not even autopsied during the investigation.
She was also found out to be only 17-years old during that time.
“What the KSA government did to Rizana is unconscionable – it is both unjust and barbaric,” said Rey Asis, program coordinator for the APMM. “Denial of her rights during the case hearing is a symptom of a system in the KSA that is oppressive and exploitative of migrants.”
Organizations who joined the picket action were the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS), International Domestic Workers Network (IDWN), League of Social Democrats (LSD), Association for the Advancement of Feminism (AAF), Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) and various members of the Asian Migrants Coordinating Body.
The groups scored the KSA government for allowing this brutal fate to come to Nafeek, stating that the latter has wantonly violated every convention that protects her rights, in particular the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.
The Sri Lankan government was also not spared for it had done very little to provide support to Nafeek and her family.
“The Sri Lankan government should be named and shamed for criminally neglecting Nafeek who was suffering such a plight. Not only have they allowed her to be trafficked, they allowed her to suffer seven years in prison and simply witnessed her horrid demise,” said Eman Villanueva, coordinator for the Hong Kong & Macau chapter of the IMA.
The groups demanded the United Nations to immediate take action in admonishing the KSA government for its execution of Nafeek. They also demanded that the KSA government immediately and concretely enforced laws recognizing and protecting migrants’ rights and liberties while the Sri Lankan government to immediately address the issue of human trafficking and enforce laws criminalizing illegal recruitment.
Both APMM and IMA vowed to continue campaigning against the unjust policies of KSA against migrants and raising the issues with international bodies like the UN and calling for international pressures.
Asis representing both APMM and IMA and Elizabeth Tang, international coordinator of the IDWN, went up to the KSA Consulate General to submit their respective protest letters.
The IMA statement submitted was endorsed by various organizations, namely: Migrante International, IMA Research Foundation, Progressive Migrant Labour Forum, TransAsia Sisters Association, Taiwan (TASAT), Juridical Association for the Development of Women’s Right in Pingtung (JDWRP, Taiwan), Gabriela United Arab Emirates, Migrante International UAE Chapter, Movimiento Migrante Mesoamericano, Familia Latina Unida Presentes con IMA, and LiveandLivelihood Foundation.#
(Source: APMM website, www.apmigrants.org)