[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] said Monday in a statement [press release] in anticipation of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women [advocacy website] that migrant and domestic workers still face abusive and exploitative treatment throughout Asia and the Middle East. The rights group observed that workers in several countries throughout the region, including millions of women, lack access to judicial systems, and often lack appropriate redress even when granted access. HRW added that the control that employers have over workers' visas increases the risk of abuse. Deputy director of the women's rights division of HRW Nisha Varia said:
There are countless cases of employers threatening, humiliating, beating, raping, and sometimes killing domestic workers. Governments need to punish abusive employers through the justice system, and prevent violence by reforming labor and immigration policies that leave these workers at their employers' mercy.
The United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) [official website] also announced [press release] Monday that it will award nearly $19 million to 29 countries for the development of projects concerning gender based violence, including support of organizations promoting national laws, policies and action plans on ending violence against women.
The UN [official website] inaugurated the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in 1999 in an effort to promote public awareness of the problem. In May, Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] flagged the issue in its latest annual report [JURIST report], concluding that despite significant efforts of governments around the world, violence against women, particularly sexual violence, continues and is believed to be playing a role in the spread of disease.