Dubai; The Plight of Its Redundant Migrant Workers
After a bonanza decade of foreign invesment, a frenzy of record breaking construction and mass migration of the business world elite, Dubai has eventually succumbed to the global recession, resulting in a slow down of construction and city development.
One of the seven Emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates on the Arabian Peninsular, Dubai only 20 years ago was just a small fishing port nestling on the Arabian Gulf coast.
It's economy flourished with the help of it's booming oil industry, encouraging foreign investors and construction companies and the world's business elite to jump on the money making bandwagon.
Realising that it's oil reserves would not last forever, Dubai, a predominantly Islamic country, turned to tourism to keep it's economy thriving, with the building of top class hotels and luxury shopping malls to keep up the flow of foreign currencies.
This in turn led to a maelsrom of construction in the Emirate, many of which became world class icons and record breakers.
It's 250,000 strong construction workforce are made up of migrant workers from the Indian sub continent and south east Asia.
It has been known for some time that these migrant workers have suffered human rights abuses since entering the Emirate, through the taking away of their passports upon arrival into the Emirate, poor living conditions, lack of health and safety regulations, restrictions on them leaving one company and being free to work for another, excessivly long working hours, no days off or holidays and in some cases non existant pay checks.
When workers have tried to lodge complaints, their actions have been treated with contempt by Emirate officials, even resulting in jail terms under the harshest of conditions for some.
But now the economy of the Emirate has begun to slow, so too has the construction industry, rendering many of these workers unemployed.
Most of them are without passports and money, resulting in them being unable to leave the Emirate, returning to their homelands or being able to look for work elsewhere in the Emirate.
Most of these young, healthy, and quite willing to work young men, are from some of the world's poorest and deprived countries,their promised pay packets the only means of whole families being able to survive in their home lands.
Most of them secured their work permits and travel expenses to the Emirate by means of moneylenders in their home countries.
This has led to further worry and problems for these migrant workers as they no longer have the means with which to pay back the moneylenders, resulting in death threats or acts of violence towards them and their families.
Their dreams of working in Dubai, now turned to rueful nightmares.
It has been only recently that the Emirate government has seen fit to start charges against these multi conglomorates that have for so long reaped the rewards of their migrant workers.
These illegal acts must not be allowed to continue, especially in a country with so much wealth, that attracts so much more wealth.
Next time we see photographs of, or visit this fine Emirate of so many marvelous examples of modern architecture or wonder at the opulence of the interiors of these high class hotels, shopping malls and business establishments, just take a moment to ponder.
Dubai may well have been inspired by it's own honestly gained wealth, but Dubai was constructed from the blood, sweat and tears of thousands of migrant workers who have been treated shamelessly by the greed and avarice of Western capitalism and an oil rich nations total lack of regard for people less priviledged than themselves, who would do well to remember that they themselves were just a poor Emirate struggling to eke out a living from the fishing industry,only two short decades ago.
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