Amnesty International calls for guaranteeing respect for the rights of foreign workers in the UAE ahead of COP28
Amnesty International has called on the international community to guarantee respect for the rights of foreign workers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) ahead of its hosting of the COP28 climate summit at the end of this year.
The organization highlighted on its official Twitter account that the UAE will host the climate summit at the site that was built for Expo 2020, where foreign workers have reported forced labour practices.
The organization emphasized that before the COP28 climate summit, the international community must ensure respect for the rights of foreign workers in the UAE and address its violations.
Amnesty confirmed that millions of migrant workers in the UAE need protection due to arbitrary actions and deprivation of their rights, particularly concerning the absence of a minimum wage.
The organization highlighted that UAE labour laws do not specify a minimum wage nor allow foreign workers to exercise their right to form unions and engage in union activities such as strikes.
Amnesty cautioned that employers in the UAE could require workers to work 12 hours a day, six days a week, amounting to 72 hours of work weekly without a minimum wage.
Amnesty International previously stressed the need for international pressure on the UAE to improve its dismal human rights record to ensure the success of the COP28 climate summit scheduled to be held in Dubai.
This was stated in a message directed by the organization to the participating countries in the meeting on climate change in Bonn on June 5, 2023, which will help set the agenda for the COP28 climate summit later this year.
In a brief report titled “The Human Rights Situation in the United Arab Emirates ahead of the COP28 Climate Summit,” the organization identified some key risks to human rights in the UAE that threaten the success of the COP28 climate summit.
Among these risks, according to the organization, are the suppression of freedom of expression, the closure of civil space, the risks of digital surveillance and monitoring, as well as the opposition of the hosting state to a rapid phasing out of fossil fuels.
Hiba Morayef, Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International, stated, “the success of the COP28 climate summit is vital for human rights and the planet as a whole.”
She continued, “This year, we should witness a commitment from all countries to phase out all forms of fossil fuels rapidly and to maintain the goal of avoiding rapid and escalating climate change.”
Morayef affirmed that the road to a conference that achieves these results is fraught with risks due to the effective closure of civil space in the UAE, the country’s well-known use of digital surveillance to spy on critics, and its opposition to the gradual phasing out of fossil fuel production and use.
She added, “The COP28 climate summit should serve as a forum where civil society can participate freely and without fear, and where indigenous peoples, affected communities, and groups can exchange their experiences and contribute to shaping policies without intimidation while respecting the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.”
She continued, “The Bonn conference paves the way for the COP28 climate summit, and participants should seize this opportunity to make it clear to the UAE that changes need to happen.”