Coronavirus photo sparks global outrage
Pictures of a migrant worker dressed as a giant box of hand sanitiser in Saudi Arabia have sparked global outrage.
The images, which emerged on social media earlier this week, show a man wearing a face mask and a box with the words "hand sanitizer" written on it, standing in the lobby of the oil giant Saudi Aramco's headquarters.
The images were widely slammed on social media as racist, with some comparing it to "slavery".
#Saudi @ARAMCO’s idea of a hand sanitizer stand: a foreign worker from a poor country.— Dr. Abbas Kadhim (@DrAbbasKadhim) March 10, 2020
The company apologized after a wave of criticism for its utter #racism & disregard of human dignity.
Mistreatment of forein labor in some Gulf countries is outrageously rampant. pic.twitter.com/FpTohYmQEC
Slavery was never abolished here, just repackaged. https://t.co/W1gFWeWLVl— Naser (@NaserMestarihi) March 10, 2020
The photos that went viral recently of an Asian Saudi #Aramco worker forced to act as a human stand for dispensing hand sanitizer reflect a lack of respect for human dignity and a failure to protect #human_rights— ImpACT International (@ImpactPolicies) March 11, 2020
More ► https://t.co/ahRCe2sN4z pic.twitter.com/qAB2nrfmUs
After the pictures went viral, Saudi Aramco released a statement on Twitter saying it was "strongly dissatisfied" with what happened, and was taking measures to ensure it wouldn't happen again.
The oil giant did not issue an apology to the man, or explain why he had been made to wear the costume.
إشارة إلى الصور المتداولة في وسائل التواصل الاجتماعي لأحد الزملاء مرتدياً ما يشبه عبوة للتعقيم في أحد مرافقها، تود #أرامكو السعودية أن تعرب عن استيائها الشديد من هذا التصرف المسيء الذي أريد به التأكيد على أهمية التعقيم، دون أخذ موافقة من الجهة المعنية بالشركة.— أرامكو (@Saudi_Aramco) March 10, 2020
There are 21 cases of coronavirus currently reported in Saudi Arabia.
The country has been slammed for its human rights record and treatment of migrant workers, who make up a large chunk of the kingdom's workforce.
Saudi Aramco is the most valuable company in the world. Last December, its initial public offering was the largest in history at $US1.7 trillion.
But its shares have fallen more than 11 per cent amid concerns the coronavirus outbreak will slow oil demand from China.
The World Health Organisation has officially declared the virus a pandemic, with more than 118,000 cases worldwide.