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Jakarta Post

Honorary degree for Saudi King draws fury

  • The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, August 27 2011   /  08:00 am

University of Indonesia (UI) has come under a storm of protests for awarding an honorary doctorate to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, a leader whose commitment to human rights has been seriously questioned by labor activists.

The award came just two months after the beheading of Ruyati binti Satubi, an Indonesian maid who was convicted for murdering her employer — a crime she allegedly committed in response to repeated torture.

For years, international human rights organizations have criticized Saudi Arabia for its treatment of migrant workers. A 2011 Human Rights Watch report notes that domestic workers from Indonesia “frequently endure forced confinement, food deprivation and severe psychological, physical and sexual abuse”.

There are an estimated 1.5 million Indonesian maids currently working in the kingdom, with 23 on death row.

Several non-government...