Saadiyat workers treated better says HRW
Abu Dhabi, March 21, 2012
The UAE has improved its treatment of South Asian labourers on the construction of Saadiyat Island, a $27 billion cultural project in Abu Dhabi, but should do more, Human Rights Watch said.
In a report, the US-based group also called on Western universities and cultural institutions that plan to set up branches on Saadiyat, which include the Louvre and the Guggenheim museums, to ensure workers are paid and that contractors who abuse them face punishment.
The group said UAE authorities had moved to ensure payment of wages and medical treatment for workers, who are mostly from the Indian subcontinent, and allow some independent oversight of contractor practices at Saadiyat Island.
"Finally, Emirati developers and their international partners have stepped up to the plate on Saadiyat Island to start to protect workers, but they will need to do more to curtail the abuses," HRW said in a statement.
The development of Saadiyat Island is one of the largest cultural projects in the Middle East but last year more than 130 artists said they would boycott the Guggenheim museum there over what they said was exploitation of foreign workers.
New York University and the Guggenheim and Louvre museums are among institutions that plan to set up branches on the island where they will be housed alongside a golf course and high-end housing developments. - Reuters