UAE rebuts HRW report on domestic workers


In its response to the gadfly HRW report, the UAE government voiced disappointment at both the quality of research and the questionable and generalized approach taken by Human Rights Watch in tackling this important issue.


It is clear that once again HRW has chosen to ignore many of the positive steps adopted by the UAE in recent months to improve the conditions of temporary foreign workers in the country, it said.
The UAE is a country that takes the protection of workers very seriously and has been working on several fronts simultaneously to improve the conditions and challenges faced by domestic workers, it added.


"We recognize that like many responsible countries in the international community, the protection of domestic workers is a major priority for our government, and we are committed to meeting that priority at all levels," the UAE said.

Meanwhile, Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs said, "We in the UAE acknowledge that the protection of domestic labour is a key priority. We regret that the HRW report lacks credible research methodology. In the future, we encourage HRW to visit the country and view the progress on the ground before publishing its conclusions." Findings of the HRW report seem to be based on a statistically unrepresentative sample of interviews with Sri Lankan women who have worked across the entire Middle East region, he said.


Regrettably, HRW has not fully assessed the real situation on the ground in the UAE nor has it spoken to any of the officials and government agencies involved in protecting worker rights and managing conditions in the country before publishing these most recent findings, he blasted.


In October 2007, the UAE adopted a fresh law on the protection and regulation of domestic workers, he concluded.


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