UAE says to launch new contracts for domestic workers

Ministry of Interior says amended contract is part of plan to 'addressing negative issues witnessed in the past'
UAE says to launch new contracts for domestic workers
By Andy Sambidge
Sun 01 Jun 2014 01:45 PM

The UAE said on Sunday that it is planning to launch a new contract for domestic workers as part of plans to improve their rights and conditions.

The Naturalisation, Residency and Ports Sector at the Ministry of Interior said it has finished preparing the "new and amended" contract form after four years of work, without giving specific details about the changes to the contract.

Major-General Khalifa Hareb Al Khaili, acting assistant under-secretary of the Ministry of the Interior for Naturalisation, Residency and Ports Affairs, said in comments published by news agency WAM that the updated version of the contract represents one of many measures that the Ministry of Interior is reviewing with a view to "addressing the negative issues witnessed in the past regarding domestic helpers".

"This regulatory action fulfils the Ministry of Interior's strategic goals and vision 2014-2016," he added.

In October, International Domestic Workers Network (IDWN), the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), and Human Rights Watch said in a report that the Middle East depends heavily on domestic workers but trails other regions in adopting critical reforms to protect their rights.

The report said domestic workers in the Middle East – many of them migrants from Asia and Africa – experience a wide range of abuses, including unpaid wages, restrictions on leaving the households where they work, and excessive work hours with no rest days.

Last year, the UAE was ranked in the top 15 globally for its record on human rights, well ahead of its neighbours in the Gulf region.

The first International Human Rights Rank Indicator (IHRRI) issued by the Switzerland-based Global Network for Rights and Development (GNRD) placed the UAE in 14th place, based on a total of 21 human rights indicators.

The next best-ranked Gulf nation was Bahrain, which was positioned 94th out 216 countries covered.

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