Viral images of a foreign worker walking around the halls of Saudi oil giant Aramco wearing a large hand sanitiser dispenser have been condemned as racist and exploitative.
Twitter users described the images posted yesterday as “racist” as the worker appeared to be walking around distributing sanitiser to staff members inside and outside the office buildings.
Another disgusting example of Coronavirus racism. This time from Saudi oil company @Aramco who forced a foreign worker to walk around as a large hand sanitiser dispenser. Exploitative & racist. Highlights again this huge problem in Saudi Arabia & the Gulf https://t.co/Lp9kYN3GuU pic.twitter.com/QC6l2zQq7V
— Joseph Willits (@josephwillits) March 11, 2020
Some criticised the company, commenting that this was: “Gulf classism. A gift from Aramco”.
اهداء من أرامكو pic.twitter.com/FpWsUNw7mE
— هشام فقيه (@HishamFageeh) March 10, 2020
In a statement released yesterday, the company expressed its “strong dissatisfaction with this discriminative behaviour that was used to show the importance of sanitization, without the approval of the company.”
In response Twitter users have called on Aramco to apologise to the employee directly not to the public.
لاتعتذروا لنا اعتذروا من الشخص نفسه وكرموه وانشروا صور تكريمه ،،، وصاحب الفكره اللي ماخاف ربي ولا احترم العامل لبسوه التعقيم وخلوه يلف الشركه يوم كامل . pic.twitter.com/rsCEadk9Dy
— خالد الشهراني (@5aledAlshahrani) March 10, 2020
Others have called out the hypocrisy of those criticising Saudi Arabia while migrant workers continue to work as “advertising boards” in the West.
Saudi Arabia has been slammed for its human rights record and its treatment of migrant workers.
According to Human Rights Watch, foreign workers in Saudi Arabia face a range of abuses including overwork, forced confinement, non-payment of wages, food deprivation, and psychological and physical abuse without the authorities holding their employers to account.
Last year, the Bangladeshi government admitted that female workers were leaving Saudi Arabia because of sexual abuse.
As well as Saudi Arabia’s dismal treatment of its foreign workers, the country also faced unprecedented international criticism for its human rights record, including the failure to provide full accountability for the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents in October 2018.