Listing plans to tackle human rights issues during his speech at the United Nation’s Human Rights Council in Geneva, he said: “The UAE government is also working on a new law to protect domestic workers which will give them greater protection.” The new initiative will particularly benefit women who form a major component of the workforce.
He also said that the UAE was planning a human rights education syllabus for Grades 1-12 students.
“Colleges of law and police are already required to offer human rights courses and a federal institute for judicial training and studies has been established,” he said.
“We are also ensuring fair and on-time payment to workers. In 2007, 122,000 facilities were inspected by the labour ministry resulting in penalties for 8,588 violations. This takes forward the 2006 decision of enforcing mandatory employment contracts to protect the rights of domestic workers in relation to salary, accommodation, healthcare and working hours,” he said.
The Ministry of Labour has also introduced a complaints hotline for the general public.
“In recent years, the UAE has improved dialogue with individual labour-exporting countries and established consultations at the multilateral level,” he said. “The unique challenge of demographics in our country remains a key issue not only in terms of national identity but also in terms of our national security.
“Today, in the UAE, there are a total of 59 churches, two Hindu temples, and one Sikh temple,” he further said.
Dr Gargash said human trafficking was a crime that the UAE takes extremely seriously.
“In order to institutionalise the fight against human trafficking and protect its victims, especially women, the government enacted a federal law in 2006 which takes into account the existing federal laws on entry and residency of foreigners, labour, camel races and criminal procedures, as well as the penal code.”
The government also worked with the Unicef, the embassies, and NGOs to identify, rescue, rehabilitate, and repatriate children who worked as camel jockeys in the past.