Showing posts with label UAE. Show all posts
Showing posts with label UAE. Show all posts

Thursday, February 23, 2012

1,117 ‘foreign’ children granted UAE citizenship

Something to learn from?

The UAE is to grant citizenship to over 1,000 children of Emirati women married to foreign men, it was announced on Sunday.

"President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahayan has issued decrees granting citizenship to 1,117 children of UAE women married to foreigners who satisfied requirements for citizenship," the state-owned WAM news agency said.

The children will be granted full UAE citizenship once they reach 18 years old, the report added.
The Gulf is home to a disproportionate number of expatriate workers, but in the past few children born to a foreign father were not eligible for citizenship in the country of birth. Tunisia was previously the only country to offer gender equality in terms of parents being able to pass citizenship to their children.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

"How to Catch 'Your' 'Maid' Before She Runs Away"

Exercise: Count how many disasters this article holds.

In the weekly broadcast of Rouh Al Qanoon (spirit of the law) programme on Noor Dubai, lawyer Isa bin Haider lists five signs that can help you know if your maid is planning to abscond.
According to him, the five sure-shot signs are:
·         Frequent use of mobile phone
·         Going out of the house frequently without any apparent reason
·         Repeatedly claiming to be unwell
·         Buying travel bags while claiming that she is preparing for her annual leave
·         Meeting old and new friends during her weekly holiday
Last week’s programme was dedicated to the issue of absconding domestic workers.
Lt Col Khalaf Al Ghaith, Assistant Director General for Illegals and Foreigners’ Affairs to follow up on the offenders in Dubai was invited as a guest on the programme.
He disclosed that the department had charged some Emiratis with legally bringing foreign labourers into the country but leaving them to work illegally for other people, in return for cash.
Lt. Col Al Ghaith said: “The recent campaign which was conducted by the department led to the seizure of 254 people under the categories of assistants (maids, drivers and gardeners), including 17 males and 237 females.” He added that “69 cases were referred to the public prosecution."
Al Ghaith said: “Our investigations also led to the arrest of some other defendants who were involved in recruiting these servants despite them not being under their sponsorship, and in case of conviction, they will be fined Dh50,000.”
Meanwhile, Bin Haider reviewed a number of cases of violence and abuse against young children in the absence of their parents.
He attributed the cases of escaping domestic servants to three primary causes: abuse and humiliation by their employers on an ongoing basis, overload of work, and maids’ desire to increase their income by working illegally.
Lt Colonel Al Ghaith stressed: “The issue of absconding domestic workers is not a phenomenon but are individual cases,” and pointed out examples of househelps who have enjoyed excellent relationships with their sponsors for more than 20 years. He added, recently, the department also honoured one such family.
He disclosed there are many mechanisms adopted by the department to track defaulters. Community members are urged to inform the department of such cases. Also frequent raids by the department at usual places that house runaway maids and tracking posters and advertisements calling for domestic helps and scaning shopping centres also help keep a check on illegal maids.
Lt Col Al Ghaith also called for the humanitarian treatment of domestic workers, and urged employers to not threaten them with ending their services in a way that may force them to abscond.
He confirmed that most workers borrow large amounts of money before comingto the UAE. Regarding the role of recruiting offices in their escape, Lt. Col. Al Ghaith said the department has clear records of such agencies and the Department of  Economic Development doesn’t renew the licence of 'offending' offices.
In response to a question about the procedures which should be applied particularly after enabling maids to escape outside the UAE after stealing money and jewellery, Lt Col Al Ghaith urged all sponsors to immediately report such cases on the number 8005111. He added that the responsibility of the sponsors will be expired once they report absconding cases.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Maids Portrayed as Criminals in a UAE Paper

Migrant workers are often portrayed in regional media as criminals, unclean and dangerous, despite the fact that they are the weakest group in society and require protection and deserve gratitude for their hard work.

Full article.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sharjah witnesses 4 suicides in one week

Nine suicides since end of February...

SHARJAH — A 30-year-old Indian patient committed suicide at the Al Kuwaiti Hospital by hanging himself, making him the fourth man to commit suicide in the past week and ninth since the start of this year.
Three suicides were reported within 14 hours on Wednesday, in addition to five others at the end of February and the beginning of March.
A police source said that the patient was admitted to the hospital on Thursday and was being treated at the Orthopaedic Section for back pain where he hanged himself with a curtain on Friday. The police are currently interrogating and questioning medical caregivers who were supposed to supervise him. The Sharjah Police have also launched investigations into two cases of suicide and the mysterious death of an elderly man which was ruled as a suicide by the Police Forensic Laboratory.
All the deceased are Indians working in different companies based in Sharjah and Dubai. The CID officer also said that the police last month investigated suicide incidents of five people, including an Indian woman and a man, a Bangladesh national, an unidentified person and an Arab who worked as an engineer for telecommunications. The official also said that the ambulance and rescue missions went to the places of all nine incidents and collected evidence in each case.
He added that there are various reasons for people taking such extreme steps including spiralling cost of living in the UAE and accumulation of debts, marital disputes, loss of job, unemployment, or, in the case of housemaids, torture and other forms of abuse by employers. Methods used to commit suicide are mostly conventional such as hanging themselves to the ceiling or jumping from multi-storey building, he said. “Communities should play great role in solving these issue and reducing the number of suicides” he added.

Stuck behind closed doors

At 5am last Thursday, Gina stuffed her belongings into two bin bags and waited for the husband of the Dubai household where she had lived for three years, to go to work. The 44-year-old, who has worked as a housemaid for more than 15 years, said she could no longer cope with verbal abuse, 18-hour shifts, not a single day off and no freedom.

Dressed in the tatty pink pyjama-style unif­orm her ‘madam’ insisted she wore, the mother-of-one slipped out of the garage door, hailed a cab and headed for what she hopes will be help from the Philippines Embassy. She told 7DAYS: “My heart was beating very fast when I left the house. I left my madam a note to say I am sorry but I cannot take the treatment any more.

“She would say to me ‘you’re just a maid, you cannot do anything’. I know I am only a maid but I am good enough to teach her children, to take care of them - so why should I be treated like this? I am a human being.”

Gina contacted 7DAYS last week and claimed she had never been out of the house alone in three years and was terrified of leaving her Emirati employer as she had no idea what was waiting for her on the outside world. Whispering from a secret mobile in the sprawling villa’s basement, she begged for help. “I am scared because I want to carry on working and I know to leave is a risk,” she said. “Being a maid is fine for me, I have worked for some very good families in other countries in the past and I am not afraid to work hard.
But my employer said I could not leave her unless I paid her a lot of money. I don’t have it.”

Gina, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, is one of thousands of women who arrive in the UAE every year - ready to become part of a new family having waved goodbye to their own.
While many go on to earn a living and are treated properly, others are subjected to abuse, are underpaid and left to battle a complex labour system loaded against them, leaving them little option but to run.

The Philippines Embassy was alerted to Gina’s case and could only advise her to flee. She is now under the care of Philippines labour officials, who will attempt to pick their way through the minefield of red-tape awaiting domestic staff in this situation.

An official at the Philippines Overseas Labour Office said: “There are forms to fill in and her information will be logged and someone will investigate the case.
“At this stage, we can’t say whether she will be able to work here any more.”

Runaway maids are usually deported and slapped with a labour ban - preventing them from working in the UAE for at least six months.
The prospect of being blacklisted deters many domestic staff from leaving their employers, even when badly abused. If a passport ban is issued by Dubai’s Naturalisation and Resi­dence Department (DNRD), there is no right to appeal for the maid. The process requires nothing from the worker herself - no state­ment, no input.
The Ministry of Labour does not cover domestic staff. Their rights are regulated by their own embassies, making them difficult to enforce because there is no federal law in place to protect them.

The DNRD approves contracts between maids and employers and has worked to improve transparency between the two parties so each know their obligations. It has also introduced an arbitration system to deal with complaints. But the DNRD is clear - a runaway maid waves her rights by default.

An official from the Ethiopian Embassy, which also has thousands of nationals working as domestic staff, said maids like Gina can find themselves in a catch-22 situation. “It is very hard for the workers because when you are inside someone’s house, people on the outside are not aware of what might be going on,” he said. “If the girl is never allowed to leave the house, how will she make a complaint? If she does, she will have to run. And then if she runs, she’s a runaway. What this shows is a big problem with the system.”
But for now, Gina is relieved to be away from her employer. She said: “I was sad to leave the youngest children because they are always hugging me and run to me to tell me when they do well at school.
“I wish I could explain to them why I had to leave.
But for now, I feel relief. I just hope I can carry on working.”

The sponsorship system and treatment of domestic workers across the Gulf has caught the attention of human rights groups and campaigners worldwide. Along with Human Rights Watch, embassies and the United Nations, a 2010 report from the Migrant Forum of Asia (MFA) highlighted the pitfalls of the current regulations in the UAE.

MFA said mistreated women are unable to mount legal challenges against employers because they cannot afford it.
“Economic factors, including migration-related debt and family members who are dependent on remittances, place migrant women under pressure to continue earning,” the report said.

“If women decide to pursue legal action and their trial is unsucc­ess­ful, migrant women face a ban of six months to one year for terminating their contract. “In the rare case that an abusive employer is brought to justice, the legal process will leave them without an income for months.”