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US/India row over diplomat's arrest should not obscure domestic worker's abuse

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The recent arrest and harsh treatment by US police of India's Deputy Consul General to the US for alleged visa fraud, underpayment and concealing the exploitation of her domestic worker triggered sharp protests from the Indian government and an escalating diplomatic row between the two countries. But the government of India, according to a press release and call for action by the International Domestic Workers Federation, has missed "the underlying issue - that of the abuse and exploitation of a domestic worker by a senior official."

"The outrage over her arrest and mistreatment by officials cannot camouflage the deeper questions raised by the case", says the IDWF.. "In only speaking up for the deputy consular general, the Indian government has belittled a grave and serious concern of labour rights violation, by turning it into a foreign policy issue. We believe India, and countries around the world, need to be equally outraged for the plight of the exploited domestic worker, who is also an Indian citizen."

The IDWF is calling for protests internationally - unions in Hong Kong and India have already responded. More information, including a sample petition to the Indian government, is available here

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