Human Rights Abuses in the UAE

According to Human Rights Watch, foreign employees in the UAE are beaten and treated inhumanely by their bosses. Citing these reports, it is high time that the authorities ascertain that human rights in the United Arab Emirates are observed and the rights of every person are respected.

The story doesn’t end here however, since the UAE is not governed by one, but a multitude of cultures. Thus, it is essential to know that human rights are something of utmost importance; whether in the case of domestic or foreign staff or human trafficking. Having institutions which are democratically elected to have the prime focus on the safety and sanctity of human rights is something UAE is in desperate need of.

The UAE has not signed many of the human rights treaties in the United Nations Council, despite being a member, one wonders if they are actually concerned for its citizens and non-citizens.

Under the light of Sharia Law

Being an Islamic state by ideology, UAE has been exercising the Sharia law that they perceive is a method to protect human rights in the land. UAE aims to keep the country devoid of any malpractice and illegal activities in any form; however, these restrictions are human rights violations in themselves.

The punishment for any offence such as fornication, adultery, premarital sex and pregnancy and consumption of alcohol are all subjected to the punishment of flogging. Similarly, the state ordains female citizens to receive the permission of their male guardians when it comes to the matter of marriage (and remarriage). But this image of protection of women in the UAE (and other Middle Eastern states) is deceiving, since women are actually treated as second rate citizens. Depending on the state, women are not allowed to drive a car. They are subservient to their husband and require his permission to: "leave the house, take up employment, or to engage in fasting or forms of worship other than what is obligatory." Homosexuality is illegal in the UAE, despite many nations accepting and safeguarding the rights of the LGBT community, and those that are found to be gay may be put in prison or even put to death.

Lack of Freedom of Speech

While you may be enticed by the rich tourism industry of the UAE, there is something you need to be mindful of; there isn’t freedom of speech when it comes to being critical of the government, the royal family and/or the law enforcement agencies. Any protest against government officials or against the law itself are punishable in court. Social networking sites and blogs aren’t exempted from this restriction either.

The labor rights

The workforce of the UAE comprises of a large amount of expatriates when it comes to blue and white collared jobs. However, there aren’t strict laws governing this and with the lack of rights to citizenship, property ownership or any government support, these expatriates fail to be a part of the country. Forced deportation has been on the rise and discrimination against Asian workers has popped many questions internationally about the human rights violations in UAE.

Human trafficking

According to the data gathered over time, an illegal industry of prostitution exists in the UAE, which adds to the major part of Dubai’s economy - the tourism industry. The problem had not yet been resolved as the constitution remains conservative about the matter.

The child camel jockeys are yet another part of the uncivilized forms of human rights violation in the UAE, with children of tender ages used as camel jockeys in camel races (a popular sport in UAE) and can subsequently lead to death, physical deformities or injuries.In addition, there is physical and sexual abuse of these children along with a lifetime of slavery. 

This practice has prevailed for a long time and in 2002, it was finally banned with the ruling against it, stating that no person under the age of 15 years and weight of 45 Kg would be allowed to ride camels in the races.