11 mi­grant work­ers killed in Saudi fire

Kuwait Times - - NEWS -

Eleven mi­grant la­bor­ers died of as­phyx­i­a­tion in Saudi Ara­bia yes­ter­day in a fire that en­gulfed the win­dow­less house they shared, Saudi au­thor­i­ties said. “Fire­fight­ers put out a blaze in an old house lack­ing windows for ven­ti­la­tion. Eleven peo­ple died of as­phyx­i­a­tion, and six oth­ers were in­jured” in the south­ern province of Na­jran, the civil de­fense said in a tweet. The ca­su­al­ties all hailed from In­dia and Bangladesh, it said.

Nine mil­lion for­eign­ers work in the king­dom, many of them from South Asia, ac­cord­ing to the last of­fi­cial fig­ures re­leased in 2015. Rights groups have called on Saudi Ara­bia and other Arab states to end the wide­spread kafala - or spon­sor­ship - sys­tem, which se­verely re­stricts the rights of mi­grant la­bor­ers. These work­ers can­not leave the coun­try or switch jobs with­out writ­ten per­mis­sion from their cur­rent em­ployer un­der kafala, and em­ploy­ers of­ten con­fis­cate their pass­ports and travel doc­u­ments. — AFP

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