Friday, July 25, 2014   

Morocco struggles with abused, underpaid and exploited child domestics disgrace
(02-13 11:01)

The death of a 14-year-old domestic helper abused by her employer has sparked a public outcry in Morocco.
The girl, known as Fatima, died last March after suffering third-degree burns to her hands and face.
Her employer, a woman, was jailed for 20 years in January after being convicted of her death.
The trial became a symbol of the ordeal that some of the tens of thousands of child domestic workers have to endure in the north African nation, rights groups say.
Morocco's labor laws prohibit the employment of anyone under the age of 15 and require the authorization of a guardian for anyone under 18.
Despite some improvements, the national planning commission says, however, there are still more than 90,000 children under 15 working in Morocco.
And Human Rights Watch said in January that girls as young as eight continued to work in private homes for up to 12 hours per day, and for as little as US$11 a month.
Morocco does not have laws protecting domestic workers but parliament has tabled a bill aimed at regulating their working conditions.
The proposed law would give domestic workers contracts and a minimum wage of around US$100 a month – half the national figure – as well as one day's holiday per week and an annual leave allowance.
Employers who flaunt these terms could face financial penalties of up to 5,000 dirhams (US$600).
Finalized in June, the bill “has been endorsed by the Economic, Social and Environmental Council, the [state) National Council of Human Rights and we are ]totally open to all propositions'' from parliament, Labour Minister Abdesslam Seddiki told AFP.
But the legislation has its critics too, and rights groups and opposition politicians have demanded the bill be expanded to offer better working conditions.
Human Rights Watch last November urged Moroccan lawmakers to revise the bill, saying it had “a unique opportunity to put an end to the exploitation of domestic workers by bringing the draft law in line with standards set by the International Labour Organisation.''
“Morocco can become the first country in the Middle East and North Africa to ratify the domestic workers' treaty,'' HRW's Tamara Alrifai said in a letter to Seddiki.
Khadija Rouissi, vice-president of the Moroccan parliament's lower house and member of the PAM opposition party, also thinks the bill does too little to protect underage domestic workers.
She condemned the proposed salary threshold, saying it was “lower than the minimum wage, on the pretext of encouraging employers to register their employees''.
But she is also deeply concerned about the possibility raised by the bill of allowing youths aged between 15 and 18 working with ``the permission of a guardian.’’
“The priority is banning minors from working. The place of a girl that age is in school,'' she said. “Human dignity is the red line.''
Her party has proposed two bills in parliament that would impose a two-year jail term on those who employ minors.
The labor minister countered that Morocco has already made “great progress'' in combatting the problem, saying the number of minors employed as domestic workers had dropped from “600,000 to less than 100,000'' in a few years.
“That doesn't mean that everything is fine. We are going to do everything to fight this issue, the bill is only the beginning,'' Seddiki said.
In the absence of a clear law, “state action is limited to trials against the few exploiters who are arrested for murder or abuse,'' according to the civil society group the Collective for the Eradication of the Work of Child Maids.


   
Other World breaking news:
Air Algerie loses contact with plane over Africa (07-24 17:23)
60 dead in huge attack near Baghdad (07-24 16:48)
Russian airlines resume flights to Israel (07-24 16:27)
(Flight MH17) Russia calls on US to show proof of missile claims (07-24 16:12)
US food supplier apologizes for China expired meat scandal (07-24 15:46)
11 kids killed in India train crash (07-24 15:18)
European airlines halt more flights to Tel Aviv (07-24 12:56)
(Flight MH17) More bodies sent back to Netherlands (07-24 12:43)
World record seeker dies after plane crash in Pacific Ocean (07-24 12:18)
US removes ban on flights to Tel Aviv (07-24 12:08)

More breaking news >>

© 2014 The Standard, The Standard Newspapers Publishing Ltd.
Contact Us | About Us | Newsfeeds | Subscriptions | Print Ad. | Online Ad. | Street Pts

 


Home | Top News | Local | Business | China | ViewPoint | CityTalk | World | Sports | People | Central Station | Spree | Features

The Standard

Trademark and Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014, The Standard Newspaper Publishing Ltd., and its related entities. All rights reserved.  Use in whole or part of this site's content is prohibited.   Use of this Web site assumes acceptance of the
Terms of Use, Privacy Policy Statement and Copyright Policy.  Please also read our Ethics Statement.