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UAE counters Human Rights Watch report

Foreign Ministry says report was drawing from ‘small unrepresentative sample’ of migrant domestic workers

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: New laws in the areas of recruitment, pay, housing and health protect migrant domestic workers in the country, the UAE Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

Human Rights Watch in its report criticising the UAE for its treatment of migrant foreign workers has “drawn sweeping conclusions based on a small, unrepresentative sample,” it said in a statement.

The statement, issued by Amna Al Muhairi, director of the Human Rights department of the Foreign Ministry, notes that the HRW report “misses the bigger picture: the UAE provides economic opportunities to people of 200 different nationalities (and that) the UAE is committed to the continuous improvement of protection for foreign workers.”

“Given the number of foreign workers in the UAE, there are bound to be cases of abuse,” Amna said. “Such cases do not reflect the general situation, which works to the benefit of the vast majority of employers and employees. The UAE will continue to improve protections for foreign workers and engage in dialogue with their home countries to resolve issues that arise.”

“The recent Human Rights Watch report on migrant domestic workers in the UAE draws sweeping conclusions based on a small, unrepresentative sample. The report misses the bigger picture: the UAE provides economic opportunities to people of 200 different nationalities, benefiting the workers and boosting the UAE and home countries’ economies. The UAE is committed to the continuous improvement of protections for foreign workers.”

“The UAE’s status as an attractive place of work for people from around the world has made it a major recipient of foreign labour, which is of benefit to the workers, the sending countries, and the UAE. The UAE has ratified nine major ILO conventions related to the rights of workers, and has adopted numerous laws to protect workers’ rights, including in the areas of recruitment, pay, housing and health. We acknowledge that this area is a work in progress, which is why the UAE is committed to the continuous strengthening of protections for foreign workers, including migrant domestic workers, as a national priority. “

“The Human Rights Watch report on female migrant domestic workers in the UAE, released on October 23, 2014, by its own admission was based on a small sample which was not representative. Many of its conclusions are drawn as generalisations from this small sample. This type of sensationalistic reporting may attract media attention, but it is not a constructive contribution to making progress. Unfortunately, Human Rights Watch has a history of sensationalising issues. This is not the way forward.”

“Given the number of foreign workers in the UAE, there are bound to be cases of abuse. Such cases do not reflect the general situation, which works to the benefit of the vast majority of employers and employees. The UAE will continue to improve protections for foreign workers and engage in dialogue with their home countries to resolve issues that arise.”

“The UAE has taken many measures to protect domestic workers and provide remedies in case of abuse,” she said.

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