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Fighting the dark side

Fighting the dark side

The Dubai government has said it will look into the claims made by recent media reports that the conditions in labor camps are unfit for workers.

April 9, 2009 1:34 by

The UAE’s Labor Ministry is investigating claims made by a BBC documentary that the living conditions in a number of labor camps in Dubai were violating the rights of workers, reports the UAE’s official news agency, WAM.

Maher Al Oubed, the acting executive director of Inspection Affairs at the ministry, said that the ministry has reviewed the BBC’s Panorama Show that aired on 6th April and showed footage of filthy and unhygienic labor camps in Dubai. He said that the ministry has sent a team of inspectors to visit these camps and added that they would take disciplinary measures against any violators of the UAE’s laws.

The BBC documentary is only one of the many media reports that have highlighted Dubai’s ‘dark side’ recently. The accusations and the criticisms instigated the UK government to distance itself from the negative reports in the British media. John Wilkes, an official government spokesperson said that the government of Great Britain does not share the pessimistic view of Dubai that appeared in some sections of the British press in the wake of the global financial crisis.

Even local bloggers in Dubai are frustrated with the negative reports. “Typical crap churned by some “journalists”… When the going is good, you want a piece of the pie… But when they finish the cake, you start to badmouth the chef,” wrote blogger BuJassem.

“I’m sorry, but this is globalization,” expressed another blogger named A Blessing in Tragedy.  “No worse than nike making balls in Vietnam, or workers dismantling old western ships in Bangladesh, or Mercedes parts being manufactured in Iran.”

“Is Dubai alone in abusing the disadvantaged? I think not,” says Susan Macaulay in her blog.

The dismal conditions of Dubai’s labor camps have reported on for years. It appears the issue is back in focus now because of the effect the financial crisis has had on the emirate. But will the negative reports prompt some positive changes this time around?

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