Social conflict is a common phenomenon that often emerges at any point where there exist conflicts of interest between two or more groups that share a different background with respect to language, class as well as nationality. This paper therefore focuses on the social conflict between the Saudi Arabian natives and the foreign workers. In essence the Saudi Arabian state is a country with a strict foreign policy goal which seeks to maintain both its internal and external security within the Arabian Peninsula besides its significant intent to protect the interests of Islam and Arabs and promote solidarity in the governments of Islam. The country is also a founder member of the United Nations and signed a United Nation charter in the year 1945. Racial discrimination has been a hot aspect that has hit the heads of the world population across the century. In the Country of Saudi Arabia, workplace diversity is highly entrenched. However, there exist various disparities between foreign workers and the native workers with respect to preferential treatment (Clark & Saudi Aramco, et al. 2006).
According to the Isard’s theory of social conflict, 1992, conflict is an important component of human existence and characterizes every aspect of the daily lives of the human being. As a result, conflict should therefore not be taken to bring calamity and a sense of strife to the human beings and the population involved in particular but a phenomenon that creates a pool of self-sustaining social lifestyle among the involved players. Week, 1992 further asserts that the source and cause of conflicts is a mass of factors similar to the cause of certain pre-existing order in the human lives. Consequently, the solution to social conflicts cannot be earmarked with a single stroke but a pool of well founded solutions. At one particular point, this paper will explore the various causes of disparities between the foreign and native Saudi Arabian workers. This paper will however put into account a brief history of the social conflicts aforementioned (Clark & Saudi Aramco, et al. 2006).
Furthermore, the paper will also explain some of the remedies that exist alongside the challenges towards fulfilling the above. In addition to that, this paper will also focus on some social phenomenon that characterizes conflicts in Saudi Arabia. However, this paper will focus on a theoretical perspective, the causes and issues of conflict within the vicinity of human survival (Clark & Saudi Aramco, et al. 2006).
According to the realistic perspective of the conflict theory, the friction between groups or individual tends to intensify if there exists a high competition with respect to resources as for the case of the Saudi Arabia Oil resources. On the other hand, such groups or individual tend to cooperate if they share solidarity or are entitled to common objectives. The essence of this theory results to the development of prejudice in the administration of mutual correlation. For instance, majority of the Arabic origin people faced discrimination and resultant conflicts in America following the terrorist attack of the US in 2001. This was perhaps attributable to the fight for the available resources which in essence remain scarce and invariant. In addition to that, Sherif’s conflict theory also postulates that at times different groups cooperate well and form huge bonds in the line of dispensation of mandate. For instance, the grown cooperation results in the creation of fortified workers Union as in the case of the Saudi Arabian workers which joins together various groups of immigrant or foreign workers which were formally associated with conflict relationships. Furthermore, the theory further asserts that the affiliation of the different groups to same political party also created a sense of unanimity among the groups (Sherry & Human Rights Watch, 2004).
Due to the strict foreign policy of the country, Saudi Arabia has been propagating protracted mistreatment of the immigrant workers for decades. In essence, there has been racing warning for the foreign workers against the deadly risks they face in the execution of their duties in Saudi Arabia. Indeed, the country has a renowned record of mistreatment for the immigrants. The domestic workers particularly from Sri Lanka are highly involved in the risks of death among other fatal treatments in the hands of their employers who comprises of the rich Arabian families. Besides that, other workers who are prone to mistreatment include the Indonesian citizen who also faces similar exploitation by their employers besides being accused of witchcraft. Furthermore, various reports indicate that foreign workers have been facing harsh sentences from the rules of law particular through death sentences as opposed to the Saudi Arabian workers. For instance, according to the research findings by Amnesty International of Saudi Arabia, the death toll for the migrant workers who have been sentenced to death have rose to more than 120 migrants as opposed to the marginally small number of local population (Human Rights Watch, 2004).
Essentially, the Saudi Arabian population has a distinct exclusive cultural value that acts to eliminate free interaction of the populations of citizens from different regions of the world who may be less conversant with the rules and regulations as appertains to the cultural values of the natives. Indeed, this paper pays particular attention to the aspect of culture which has been the main issue that has seen a tremendous discrepancy between the native workers and the foreign ones. Generally, the foreign workers are perceived as the stumbling towards the cultural values of the natives and therefore the differences. In particular, the Saudi populations are modest with regard to human contacts particularly in the job placement.
In this regard, native worker keeps off the foreign workers who perhaps may not b aware or even ready to value the natives’ culture which results in mutual differences at the workplace besides the discrimination from the employer. For instance, the Saudi citizens assert that any one working within the Saudi should avoid body contacts with other individuals including a handshake. This is particularly to the members of opposite sex. Contrary to this, the violators who are often taken to be the foreign citizens are discriminated creating a potential source of conflict. Furthermore, the immigrant workers are also perceived as potential competitors to the available job opportunities and therefore a threat to the Saudi Arabian workers. In essence, the Saudi citizens perceive foreign workers as potential threats to their culture and therefore the source of misfit (Harper, 2002).
As a matter of facts, the Saudi worker follows a strict belief pattern which presents a challenge for the foreigners to adequately adhere to. For instance, showing affection towards someone in the public is also a potential source of deflection and misunderstanding between locals and foreign workers. Essentially, the foreign workers in Saudi Arabia are mistreated at the expense of the local workers. Furthermore, they are overworked while at times have pay withheld. Besides that foreign workers have also had unprecedented rape incidences among other mistreatments. According to the report by Committee of Filipinos Overseas, there are approximately 70% of domestic workers from the Filipino origin who undergo mistreatment though both physical and psychological abuses. Many foreign workers therefore live in dire circumstances. In addition to that, there have been a significant number of foreign workers who have been mistreated amidst poor medical care to a point of committing suicide.
For instance, the recent case of suicide was the Ethiopian maid in late 2012. In addition, foreign workers have also been exposed to strict and very unfriendly court sentences often, death sentences. As the Saudi workers continue to nourish, a significant number of foreign workers continue to experience wild treatment and harsh conditions persists in absence of alternatives due to the far proximity with their homes of origin. As a result of poor treatment, most foreign workers have ended up developing mental disorder while very little if any medical attention has been accorded them. Consequently, the workplace diversity with respect to nationality has continued to persist at the expense of the foreign workers who have not only been isolated by fellow colleagues of Arabian origin but also through the Saudi government policies (Long & Maisel, 2013).
In the light of the above, when a foreign worker is confronted by a compromising legal position, it is hard for justice to be done to them. As a matter of facts, foreign workers often work as slaves with restrained freedoms of expressions. In other situations, workers have been confronted towards signing false confession against committing of crimes. In other situations, the foreign workers as opposed to the Saudi citizen have also been forced to sign deals with their employers of relieving the employers’ accountability under coercion. In addition to that, all legal documents pertaining to job placement in the Saudi are written in the native language which renders most foreigners disadvantaged due to ignorance about the content. In essence, the latter incidences among others have been detrimental to the lives of foreigners besides widening the disparities between the native and foreign workers. In addition, some of the foreign workers have also been forced to work without pay while at it, being forced back home penniless. In fear of some of the fatal treatment such as death sentences, majority of the foreign workers avoid reporting abuses as the law of the land does not protect them either (Human Rights Watch, 2004).
Christoph Wilcke, a Middle East renowned researcher also postulated that the aspect of foreign workers’ discrimination would persist if the sponsorship programs would not be abolished besides reinstating favorable legal terms with respect to protection of domestic workers. In the light of the above, the Saudi treatment for foreign workers particularly, the domestic workers has remained relatively poor and pathetic despite many calls for legal reforms from the human rights groups. As a matter of facts, the disparity between the native and the foreign workers in Saudi Arabia persists due to lack of strategic legal instruments that would spell out the freedom and rights of the workers regardless of the country of origin as well as the ‘primitive’ cultural values of the people of Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, the struggle for the available resources is also an important pillar upon which the exploitation of foreign workers is based. Among the badly hit foreign workers in Saudi Arabia include Sri Lanka and the Indonesian citizens besides a significant group of African workers. However, as opposed to the relativity of the conflict theory, the outcomes of social conflict between foreign workers and natives lead to unhealthy outcomes at the expense of the foreigners (Human Rights Watch, 2004).
Social conflict between the foreign workers and the natives is a function of poor governance which perpetuates discriminatory practices besides propagating injustices through poor rule of laws that does not put justice as its shield and liberty. In this regard, the social conflicts that exists between foreign workers and the natives can be easily resolved if the natives can resolve their discriminatory practices with respect to cultural backgrounds and poor rule of law that does not account for the rights of all individuals. Indeed, through healthy legislations, the country can easily fight inequality in job placement as well as the justice in the judicial systems.