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Protective system needed for domestic maids

If the police, courts and laws cannot help stop abuse of domestic help, what little can the helpless maids do but abscond, asks a reader.

In reference to 'Abused' maid faces a lifetime ban from working in the UAE (January 12), why were the police, when approached for help by the domestic worker, unable to register a harassment complaint against her abusive sponsors? We read stories of abused runaway maids reaching shelters every other day.

In comparison, how many stories of abusers convicted for such a crime do we get to read?

If the police, the courts and the laws cannot help stop this abuse, what little can the helpless maids do but abscond?

The UAE has come up with a gem of an idea called the Wage Protection System that has tremendously improved the plight of construction workers. Great work indeed.

Now we wait for another similar protection system for domestic workers to help the plight of the hundreds of abused maids who have no other option but to run away every year - and for tougher laws against the abusers.

F Baasleim, Dubai

Make buses safe for children

The news article School-bus camera law is closer to realisation (January 18) reported on measures taken following the alleged rape by three men of a four-year-old girl on a school bus. Are our yellow buses safe? No, they are not.

Having fancy closed circuit television cameras, a stop sign board and a distinctive yellow colour does not make a school bus safe as claimed by one member of the school bus company.

Their GPS gadget proved useless. So did the claim to having their staff fully scrutinised and "well-documented".

How about taking care of the basics first? Like how can you have a bus with just one child and three men on board? Despite working with a school, the company failed to educate itself in human psychology. Having a woman as a bus helper shouldn't just be "considered", it should be implemented right away.

Secondly, bus conductors and drivers should be from different companies. As they say, birds of a feather flock together. The possibility of such a heinous crime being cooked up is more likely amongst peers than with someone whom you hardly know or have any affiliation with.

Last, employing someone whom you know personally (to a certain extent) or at least know through a reliable source is better than blindly picking up any Tom, Dick and Harry off the street with fake documents. This is definitely not an easy task but it is a child's safety at stake.

Name Withheld by Request

A six-month sentence for rape

In reference to the news article Military officer gets six months for rape (January 19), prison sentences for rape are not uniform. A study made by the US Department of Justice of prison releases in 1992, involving about 80 per cent of the prison population, found that the average sentence for convicted rapists was 11.8 years, while the actual time served was 5.4 years.

This follows the typical pattern for violent crimes in the US, where those convicted typically serve no more than half of their sentence.

Six months comes nowhere close to an appealed life sentence. I'm sure the convicted party will be let off the hook in a small fraction of the time.

Sana Sarfraz, Dubai

Generous in cancer treatment

The UAE is generous and has contributed to the welfare of many nations. It is in that spirit that the UAE has contributed $150m (Dh 110m) to the University of Texas for cancer research, as reported yesterday in The National. The research that this investment will provide will assist millions.

I also admire the role being played by cancer hospitals like Tawam in Al Ain, which caters to the whole of the UAE community, including expats. I hope that this generosity will continue

Name Withheld by Request

Service projects are best for youth

I refer to the article Reach out to youth before problems arise (December 26). Really? Organising lectures and classes is going to change something? Why not get them involved in service projects or foreign trips to developing nations where they can help out?

AA, Abu Dhabi

A lot of water in a simple beefsteak

I refer to For water's wonders to be enjoyed, they must be conserved (January 3). Think twice before eating a beefsteak, as each kilo requires 15,000 litres of water.

Cyril Jarno, Abu Dhabi

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