Diplomatic Immunity Will No Longer Shield Slave-Owners -

Diplomatic Immunity Will No Longer Shield Slave-Owners

  • Published on
    June 14, 2019
  • News Source Image
  • Category:
    Law & Policy
Hero Banner

In a major legal breakthrough, a UK tribunal has ruled that a Saudi diplomat cannot claim diplomatic immunity in a case where he is accused of trafficking a woman into domestic slavery.

Diplomats are normally protected from criminal and civil charges when posted abroad, but a British judge ruled that this does not apply in cases of modern slavery.

Take Action: Help Stop Domestic Slavery

“It is extremely significant” said Nusrat Uddin, a solicitor at Wilson Solicitors LLP involved in the case.

“We would hope it will encourage victims that they do have rights that can be enforced against diplomats who are ill-treating them and exploiting their position. We hope it acts as a deterrent for such employers.”

Thomson Reuters Foundation reports:

The new case was brought against a currently serving Saudi diplomat, Khalid Basfar, by a Filipino woman who served as a domestic worker for his family.

The woman, who has not been named, said was brought to Britain by Basfar and was promised the minimum wage and a day off every week.

But she said she had to work from 7:00 am to about 11:30 pm each day with no time off, and had to wear a buzzer so she could be summoned at any time of the day or night.

She was regularly verbally abused, was not able to leave the diplomat’s house and her wages were withheld, according to her statement to the employment tribunal.

In a ruling made in a preliminary hearing on whether Basfar had immunity from the civil case, the judge wrote that it would be “difficult” to find the British legal system could not provide redress in cases involving domestic slavery.

The judge also noted that holding a domestic slave should be considered a “commercial activity” — which is exempt from diplomatic immunity.

No one from the Saudi embassy in London has commented on the ruling.

“This is really good news and something that we’ve advocated for over a decade,” said Jakub Sobik from Anti-Slavery International.

“No one should be allowed to hide behind immunity – or anything else – when it comes to slavery and exploiting vulnerable people.”

Freedom United is interested in hearing from our community and welcomes relevant, informed comments, advice, and insights that advance the conversation around our campaigns and advocacy. We value inclusivity and respect within our community. To be approved, your comments should be civil.

stop icon A few things we do not tolerate: comments that promote discrimination, prejudice, racism, or xenophobia, as well as personal attacks or profanity. We screen submissions in order to create a space where the entire Freedom United community feels safe to express and exchange thoughtful opinions.

Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
D. A
D. A
4 years ago

No immunity? They should be JAILED or deported!!!!

Malcolm Bush
4 years ago

As far as I know, this form of slavery was in practice when I was a child; I’m in my seventies and It’s still on the go.

This week

E.U. market will be tainted with forced labor without strong legislation

A report published on December 6 commissioned by a group of E.U. lawmakers warns that “a substantial volume of apparel tainted by Uyghur forced labor is moving into the E.U. without restriction.” The report indicates how E.U. policy does not do enough to weed out forced labor from large supply chains and, therefore, does not protect consumers from buying products made with Uyghur forced labor, according to The Guardian. Implication by state-sponsored

| Wednesday December 6, 2023

Read more