UAE slams rights report


 The report – published by the New York-based Human Rights Watch and presented in the capital on Tuesday – claims exploitation in the ‘Saadiyat Island’ project of the Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC). It involves more than 29 hotels and a cultural district where Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Museum, Louvre Abu Dhabi and Zayed National Museum are planned.

Dr Anwar Gargash, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Minister for FNC Affairs, said that the publication failed to recognise the government’s consistent efforts to improve the rights and conditions of all those working in the country.

“The UAE is particularly surprised and disappointed by HRW’s attempts to sensationalise the drawbacks in the country’s labour policies into media sound bites, without consideration of the rapid strides that have been made over the past few years and that are well under way here as part of the UAE government agenda,” the Minister said in the statement released through state news agency Wam.

“In recent years, the government has consistently sought to engage its international partners in collaborative efforts to upgrade its national labour legislation, regulatory framework and inspection capacity, in pursuit of a model decent work environment for all those contributing to its economic development.

“While the government is open to constructive criticism on the scope and pace of its efforts to extend protection to workers under the law, the report’s arbitrary generalisations and minute research sampling do not withstand scrutiny and cast a cloud on the credibility of the entire report.”

HRW officials are appreciative of the initiatives of the TDIC and the UAE government to improve conditions. “The very fact we are able to hold a press conference and distribute the report to the media is itself indicative of the openness and commitment of the UAE to improve the conditions of the workers here,” said Bill Van Esveld, researcher at HRW.

“But what is lacking is the initiative to follow up and implement the various schemes and laws framed to prevent the exploitation,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Executive Director of HRW Middle East and North Africa Division.

TDIC said it contractually obliges its contractors to comply with UAE labour laws and would act over any breach.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *