Horrific death of maid taken to Kuwaiti hospital with ‘cucumber in her genitals’
The gruesome death of a Philippines domestic worker in Kuwait, whose body was found "black and blue" with a cucumber in her genitals, has deepened tensions between the two nations.
The death of yet another Filipino maid in the Gulf state threatens to reignite a diplomatic crisis as the Southeast Asian country – a major exporter of domestic labour to the Middle East – demands answers from Kuwaiti counterparts over the treatment of its migrant workers.
A Kuwait employer has been charged with Constancia Layo Dayag's murder after she was declared dead on arrival at hospital last week, in the latest of a series of claims of abuse of Filipina domestic workers in the state.
Fresh reports say Manila claims the Filipina national was bludgeoned to death and a piece of cucumber found stuffed inside her genitals, Philippines news site the Business Mirror reports.
Local media reports Kuwaiti authorities have filed murder charges against a Kuwaiti employer suspect in Constancia' death named only as B.M.I.H.
Philippines Labour and Employment Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III reportedly vowed to pressure the Kuwaiti government over the mother's "utterly condemnable" death, saying the government would do "everything" to seek justice for her family.
“I am taking the Kuwaiti Government to task for the gruesome death of yet another Filipino in the hands of her employer in Kuwait,” Bello told local media.
“Aside from the apparent violation of agreement on the protection of [overseas Filipino workers] between our government and Kuwait, there appears to have been a breach of the employment contract by the foreign employer.”
Philippines Lifestyle reported that Mr Bello confirmed that Constancia's body was found "black and blue," adding that a cucumber had been forced into her body.
Philippines foreign secretary Teddy Locsin Jr. last week tweeted his outrage at the death of the 47-year-old domestic worker, as officials vowed to investigate her murder.
The Philippines last year put a temporary ban on its nationals working in Kuwait last year over reports of abuse of Filipino workers, including the case of another maid Joanna Demafelis, 29, who was found dead in a freeezer in her employers' home more than a year after she was reported missing.
Migrant rights groups in the country last week urged the government not to reinstate the ban, saying it won't stop the abuse of Filipino workers already in the the state and warning it could provoke human trafficking.
Mr Locsin Jr. tweeted in apparent support of bringing back the ban: "She was bludgeoned to death. We are not throwing this mutilated woman under the bus of recruiting agencies that think only of self-profit and never of others' protection."
An estimated 10 million Filipinos work overseas, with many flocking to oil-rich Kuwait where Filipina domestic labourers are in high demand, according to Reuters.
When footage emerged showing Philippine embassy officials in Kuwait rescuing Filipino maids from allegedly abusive employers, the Gulf state declared the move an insult to its sovereignty.
It expelled the Phillipine ambassador and pulled its own envoy back from Manila, with officials saying that it was handling allegations of abuse against Filipina migrant workers under its own laws already.
But the country's President Rodrigo Duterte had claimed there had been a string of deaths of domestic workers reported to Philippines authorities, and offered to bring Filipina workers home.
His regime, which has itself been accused of human rights abuses over Duterte's bloody 'war on drugs' eventually lifted the migrant labour ban last May.
The row thawed temporarily after the two countries signed a labour pact to regulate the employment of the country's migrant employees in Kuwait.
An official statement from the Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs has said the cause of the latest maid's death is still under investigation, with its tone threatening a revival of the long-simmering tensions.
Embassy officials endorsed Kuwait's prosecutor's handling of the death as a "felony murder."
However, in the same statement Manila called for Kuwait counterparts to immediately release the forensic report concerning her death.
Officials said Philippine authorities would perform their own autopsy and toxicology tests.
Constancia's remains were due to arrive home on May 23, where Foreign Affairs officials pledged to provide for financial assistance to her orphaned children and for funeral costs.
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