//UAE gets first human rights body

UAE gets first human rights body

DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates has granted a license to the country’s first human rights organisation, the Gulf News daily reported Wednesday. Mohammad al-Duhaim aims to deal with human rights violations by raising the issues with the executive authorities, the English-language newspaper reported.

The declared aim of the association is to seek greater social and political justice, as well as to monitor prisoners’ condition. It also intends to raise human rights awareness and ensure equality among all UAE residents, regardless of ethnicity, faith, colour or gender, the paper reported. The major human rights issue in the UAE concerns foreign labourers, who are often housed and made to work in inhuman conditions, and routinely go unpaid by large construction companies who hire them from South Asian countries like India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Reports of abuse among housemaids are also common. The paper quoted al-Duhaim as saying that the organisation’s 32 current members plan to meet in the near future to elect an unspecified number of board members. Full membership to the board is only open to UAE nationals, but foreigners with "good reputation" and a recognised concern for human rights in the UAE may join as affiliate members, Gulf News quoted al-Duhaim as saying. The organisation had applied for a license 18 months ago, the paper said.