Saturday, December 6, 2008

Migrant workers appeal to UN for help - Times Online

Hundreds of migrant workers stranded in drab warehouses near Baghdad airport called on the US military and the United Nations for help today as their Kuwaiti contractor failed for a second day to fly them out of the country.

“America why are you silent? Human rights organisations why are you silent? United Nations where are you?” one of the workers, who are from Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India, texted in a message to The Times. He was quoting from banners drawn up to show to a US television crew that managed to infiltrate the guarded compound, which is located in the secured airport zone that also houses a US military base a number of other entities. “Our kids are going hungry, we want justice,” one of the banners read. The men were brought to Baghdad over the past three months to work for Najlaa International Catering Services, which is a subcontractor to Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR), a major service provider to the US Department of Defence. Each paid up to $3,000 (£2,000) to middlemen on the promise of work as soon as they arrived. The jobs never materialized. Instead they found themselves confined to three, overcrowded warehouses surrounded by walls and with no salary. They said food and hygiene were bad, allegations the company denies.

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