x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

UAE details steps to protect migrant workers in UN rights report

The UAE is submitting a second human-rights report to the United Nations. The document will include steps taken to protect migrant workers, as well as recommendations implemented in areas such as women and worker rights.

DUBAI // The Government will submit its second human-rights report to the United Nations at the end of this month, ahead of a review of its record early next year.

The report is part of the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review (UPR), where the record of 192 UN member states is examined every four years.

The UAE's human-rights report, due to be scrutinised by member nations in January, will focus on the steps taken to protect migrant workers, recommendations implemented after the review in areas including women and worker rights, laws enacted, adherence to international conventions and workshops held to raise awareness on human rights among law enforcement authorities.

The first report, prepared by a committee headed by Dr Anwar Gargash, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Federal National Council (FNC) Affairs, was submitted in December 2008.

Abdulrahim Al Awadi, assistant foreign minister for legal affairs, said the UAE's constitution "guarantees respect for the safety of every individual, ensures equality and social justice, establishes the fundamental freedoms of all individuals, prohibits torture and arbitrary detention and respects civil liberties, including freedom of expression and freedom of religion."

According to Wam, the state news agency, Mr Al Awadi told a meeting on Friday of the standing committee, which helped draft the report, that the Government launched programmes to ensure economic and social development and guarantee civil, social, economic, cultural and political rights.

According to Foreign Ministry sources, the UAE will send a copy of its second report in Arabic to the Human Rights Council on October 22. The report was prepared eight months ago and a copy was sent to relevant ministries for their inputs. The report is in the process of being examined by UAE authorities.

The 2008 report highlighted strides made in education, health and affordable housing. But it conceded improvement was needed on workers and women's rights and in combating human trafficking.

After the review, the UAE adopted 38 out of 74 human-rights recommendations made by the UPR. Some of those rejected included calls to abolish the death penalty, to extend freedom of assembly and association and to grant migrant workers more rights.

One of the recommendations to be accepted and implemented was to allow Emirati women married to non-citizens to pass their nationality on to their children.

Last December, Sheikh Khalifa, the President, announced that children of Emirati women married to foreigners could apply for citizenship once they turned 18.

pkannan@thenational.ae