An Ethiopian maid was fined for attempting to kill herself in Dubai, the National reported, in an incident that underscores the poor treatment of domestic help in the UAE.
The National reports the young woman had not been paid by her employers for three months, and was dismissed on September 10th. Her former employers refused her request to send money to her family in Ethiopia, claiming they had insufficient funds.
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Unable to locate the agency that initially sent her to the UAE, the young woman decided to kill herself, and stood in the middle of a busy street.
A policeman stopped her and got her off the road—and she was fined 1000 dirham, or $272, for the suicide attempt.
Earlier in September, another UAE maid attempted to poison herself after a dispute with her employer, reported The Gulf Today.
In March, an Ethiopian maid who was videotaped being beaten by her employer in Lebanon took her own life, according to the Guardian.
In December of 2011, a Moroccan hotel worker in the UAE attempted to kill herself by drinking cleaning fluid, and was also imprisoned, fined, and deported for the crime of attempted suicide, reported Hotelier Middle East.
The woman's life was saved, and she was sent to jail for a month for the crime of attempting to kill herself.
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Suicide is illegal in the UAE, which follows shariah law on this measure, and requires threats of suicide or suicide attempts to be reported to police.
Doctors find it particularly unpalatable, reports the National, as they must choose between violating patient confidentiality or breaking the law when dealing with suicidal patients.
Human Rights Watch reports that migrant workers enjoy few rights in the UAE, and are often abused by their employers. A 2012 report found there were 26 suicides in 2011 by Indian workers alone.