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The UAE government response to Human Rights Watch?s report on the Saadiyat Island
2009-05-19 15:23:39
WAM Abu Dhabi, 19th May 2009 (WAM) -- The UAE on Tuesday said that a report by an international rights watchdog lacked credibility, substance and transparency and failed to recognise the government's consistent efforts to improve the rights and conditions of all those working in the country.

The statement came in response to a report published by Human Rights Watch (HRW) on conditions of construction workers in Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi, a project that has not yet begun its construction phase.

"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 underway here as part of the UAE government agenda" said Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Gargash.

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.

In giving these factors minimal consideration, the report is a blatant error in judgment and exposes the serious flaws in the research methodology and compilation of the report, Dr Gargash said.

"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 generalizations and minute research sampling do not withstand scrutiny and cast a cloud on the credibility of the entire report," the minister added.

Further, Dr Gargash said, "Respecting workers rights is a moral, cultural and economic imperative for the UAE. The government is proud of its steady progress in transparently achieving its objectives and remains committed to doing much more on a priority basis in future.The UAE government considers the protection of the rights of workers, irrespective of gender, age or nationality, a moral imperative as well as a matter of rule of law. Its commitment to uphold these rights and steadily and effectively deal with challenges it faces in their enforcement is visible to anyone dealing with labour issues in this country and internationally" the minister added.

The UAE government further recognizes that the protection of workers against unfair labour practices is a matter of legitimate interest to regional and international stakeholders including governments, multilateral organizations and the international NGO community and welcomes genuine non-partisan engagement and dialogue on this issue.

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