Filipino Ambassador to Kuwait Renato Pedro Villa has been given just one week to leave the Gulf state after Kuwaiti officials accused Villa of organizing “rescue teams” to find and liberate Philippine nationals currently working in Kuwait as domestic servants.
“The activities by the embassy were interference on the internal affairs of the country and an infringement on the tasks of its security agencies,” Kuwaiti officials said in a Gulf News article.
Kuwaiti officials claim that the Philippines sent a total of seven teams of operatives to the embassy to “rescue domestic workers in Kuwait.”
In February, Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte barred its citizens from seeking employment in Kuwait and accused Kuwait citizens of killing and torturing Filipino house servants. Duterte said about 500,000 Filipinos were working in Kuwait as of February 2018, many of whom were employed as house servants.
Duterte also showed evidence of a dead Filipino citizen that was found in the freezer of a Kuwait house. The body of the Filipino was said to have shown “evidence of torture,” The New York Times reported.
Kuwaiti officials said the actions of the Filipino embassy staff violated tenants of the “Vienna convention and amounted to abuses of Kuwait’s sovereignty.”
Several Kuwait lawmakers called for action against the Phillippines, which resulted in the expulsion of the Filipino ambassador, who they declared “persona no grata.” They also demanded that the embassy release the names of every Filipino citizen the staff helped to leave the country — about 800 people — but the embassy refused.
The Filipino ambassador issued an apology to the Kuwait government for “violating Kuwait’s sovereignty”, and said the teams were sent on “operations to rescue distressed house workers who needed help.”
Kuwait has also recalled its ambassador in Manila “for consultations.”