Use of diplomatic immunity


Madam, – I am outraged at the recent decision made by the South African Embassy and ambassador Priscilla Jana to file diplomatic immunity in relation to an employment rights complaint made by a Ukrainian domestic worker.

Valentyna Khristonsen, who worked in the ambassador’s residence between 2006 and 2008, lodged formal complaints against ambassador Jana with the Labour Relations Commission, including breaches of the Unfair Dismissals Act, the Payment of Wages Act and the Organisation of Working Time Act.

Ms Khristonsen deserves the right to due process and to have her grievance heard in court.

This is a wider problem and there are a number of such cases in Ireland. It is utterly shameful and unjust that diplomatic immunity is being used to deny domestic workers this most basic right. As an African domestic worker living in Ireland, I am appalled by the South African diplomat’s decision – workers’ rights are human rights. The use of diplomatic immunity in such cases has to end. – Yours, etc,


Domestic Workers Action Group,

Parnell Square West,

Dublin 1.