Labour Ministry responds to HRW report
The UAE Ministry of Labour (MOL) reviewed Human Rights Watch's Global Report, 2011 and welcomed the fact that international human and labour rights advocacy groups chose to hold the UAE to high standards when reporting on the conditions of foreign workers in the UAE, which aspires to be a model in region.
In a statement about the group's report on human rights in the country, the Ministry said it believes that actions and measures taken by the UAE government and the MOL over the past years to protect foreign workers raise the expectations of the international community that workers in the UAE will be extended full protection under UAE laws, and accepts the increasing level of international scrutiny.
These measures and actions are similarly responsible for making the UAE the destination of choice of aspiring workers from across the globe.
The Ministry noted that Human Rights Watch's (HRW) recognition of a number of recent UAE labor decrees and policies that increased the protection extended to foreign workers.
MOL believes that tabloid style advocacy of human and labour rights does a disservice to the very cause of human rights of foreign workers and undermines the credibility of the advocating organization.
MOL takes issue with the sensational reporting by HRW on the plight of workers who were laid-off from their UAE jobs in 2010, at a time when job loss that was due to the global economic downturn was for the overwhelming part dealt with in an orderly fashion and workers continue to enjoy wage protection under an internationally acclaimed electronic Wage Protection System.
The ministry invited HRW to examine a recent MOL decree on the right of workers to change employers. The Ministry said in its satatement that the reference to the Kafala system in HRW's press release suggests an insufficient understanding of this issue on the part of HRW.
The Ministry is committed to continuously improve the protection of the rights of workers in the UAE and welcomes constructive comments, suggestions and criticism by international stakeholders.
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