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European Parliament resolution baseless: Ghobash

posted on 30/10/2012: 2130 views

UAE Labour Minister Saqr Ghobash, said yesterday that the European Parliament resolution on human rights in the UAE is baseless and does not reflect the real situation in the country both in terms of legislation or practices on the ground.

"The issue of human rights in the UAE is closely monitored by the leadership to preserve human rights and dignity in conformity with the UAE values and national legislation applied to citizens and residents without discrimination. Hence, the UAE has become a magnet for different nationalities," he added.

Ghobash said that the European Parliament resolution was built on fallacies and lacked credibility and transparency, particularly in relation to the situation in the labour market, which is governed by the legislation and policies that provide protection for workers and ensure at the same time the legitimate interests of employers.

He reiterated the UAE's concern on labour issues, expressing his surprise about the EU parliament resolution in this respect. "It was inconsistent with several reports issued by organisations concerned with labour affairs, notably, the International Labour Organisation, which had praised several initiatives being implemented by the labour market in the UAE," Ghobash said. The UAE minister cited the Wages Protection System (WPS), which has become an innovative model for Arab, region and international levels to ensure workers get their wages on time.

Ghobash said the resolution had not taken into account the UAE's efforts to provide an exemplary work environment in accordance with the international standards, referring to the afternoon work ban decision to protect workers from hot weather conditions during summer.

The UAE minister noted that the UAE has a flexible labour transfer system that preserves good labour relations between employers and employees in the light of labour laws.

"The European parliament resolution ignores the right to litigate provided by the UAE to workers. The Ministry of Labour allows workers to lodge complaints with the competent labour courts in case parties fail to settle a case amicably,", he said, adding that there are many cases settled in favour of workers in accordance with the laws in this respect.

He said the UAE has introduced a package of measures and policies to assist labour-exporting countries in protecting their workers before coming to the UAE to work from any exploitation and illegal recruitment practices like paying for getting employment opportunities. These measures were taken in consistence with the Ministerial Consultation on Overseas Employment and Contractual Labour for Countries of Origin and Destination in Asia, better known as the 'Abu Dhabi Dialogue.' In 2008, the UAE took the ground-breaking step of hosting the inaugural Ministerial Consultation between Asian destination countries and Colombo Process countries in Abu Dhabi to discuss a comprehensive approach to managing the entire cycle of temporary contractual work that fosters the common interest of countries of origin and destination.

The cycle comprises a broad range of protection measures covering both pre- and post-departure needs of workers, and the protection process starts in the country of origin (for instance, by shielding workers from illegal recruiters), continues after arrival in the country of destination (for instance, through measures curbing abuse and non-payment of wages), and on return and reintegration back home.

The UAE minister called on European Parliament to review the facts thoroughly to distance itself from delivering judgments unrelated to the facts if it wants to maintain its credibility. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


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