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Dubai plans to deport striking Asian workers

Posted by paulipoldie on February 1, 2011

New English Review

There doesn’t seem to be any problem with forcibly deporting Muslims … from Dubai

How many times have we seen a Muslim immigrant who makes speeches openly calling for the overthrow of our government, and who is not deported?  Or, is convicted of rape or other serious felonies, or spends their entire life here collecting welfare and health insurance, or in many other ways drains the resources of the kuffar while providing no concomitant benefit, and yet is immune to deportation?

We are told that the deportation of Muslim immigrants back to their ancestral homelands, to the lands where they spent their childhood, to the lands where the local language is their primary language and the local customs are their own familiar customs, would be a warcrime akin to genocide.  We are told that everyone has a right to come here, that our borders must remain open and immigration must remain unfettered.   To place any sensible limits on immigration is to be xenophobic and racist.

And yet…

In Dubai, Bangladeshi workers, who build those skyscrapers and scrub those toilets and drive those trucks and generally keep the place humming, went on strike.  They talked about organizing themselves and starting a union.  The government of Dubai responded by immediately starting deportation proceedings against them.

The fact that they are fellow Sunni Muslims is not as important as the fact that they are not ethnic Arabs.  In the eyes of their overlords, they are inferior and they are easily replaceable.  A dime a dozen, or more accurately $200 a month per worker on average.

The Bangladeshis had the temerity to ask for an additional $50 a month, and without even a “fine how do you do,” they will be immediately thrown out on the next flight.  Next!

There will be no enraged Muslims marching in protest.  There will be no denunciation from the UN or the “human rights organizations.”  There will be no case filed at the International Court of Justice at the Hague.  There will be no newspaper headlines, nor man-on-the-street interviews on television.

Arab News

By BRIAN MURPHY | AP

Published: Jan 26, 2011 22:11 Updated: Jan 26, 2011 22:11

DUBAI: Dubai authorities plan to deport more than 50 workers from Bangladesh who took part in a rare strike to demand higher wages in another sign of growing labor unrest in the former Gulf boomtown, a diplomat said Wednesday.

The expulsions highlight the strict measures used across the United Arab Emirates to discourage protests by laborers, mostly South Asians brought to build the skyscrapers, hotels and other mega-projects that have risen in the past decade. But workers have become increasingly outspoken as prices rise and companies cancel projects after Dubai’s property bubble burst in 2009.

An estimated 5,000 mostly South Asian workers staged a nearly two-week strike this month to press for a 200 dirham ($54) pay hike from Arabtec Holding, the biggest construction company in Dubai. The workers — who live in company-run camps — make between 700 and 800 dirhams ($190 and $220) a month for basic jobs and slightly more for more skilled positions.

The consul general for Bangladesh, Mohammed Abu Zafar, said police rounded up suspected strike leaders and were moving ahead with deportations.

“Intelligence people identified them and are being deported to Bangladesh,” Zafar said.

He said the other workers agreed to return to the job, but did not receive any promises for pay hikes.

Arabtec officials declined to comment.

Strikes and other labor protests are still uncommon in the UAE, where migrants workers fear arrest or deportation.

Emirati officials, meanwhile, have taken some steps to improve living conditions for workers and curb other abuses after complaints from rights groups.

At a news conference in Dubai, Human Rights Watch said that the situation for migrant workers in the UAE remained dire against the backdrop of a worsening economy. The New York-based group, however, acknowledged that the government has announced “positive labor reforms” such as more oversight of recruiting agencies.

Construction companies across the country “exploited or abused migrant workers in numerous ways,” the group said, citing unsafe working environment, movement restrictions and withholding workers’ travel documents among violations.

Hundreds of laid-off migrant workers have been stranded in labor camps without electricity or running water for months as construction work halted across debt-burdened Dubai, the group told reporters as part of its 2010 world report.

The UAE’s Labor Ministry — in a statement carried by the official news agency WAM — said the UAE “dealt with” the job losses due to the global economic downturn “in an orderly fashion and workers continue to enjoy wage protection.” Earlier this month, laborers at a Dubai labor camp staged a work stoppage after a melee with security guards, who they accused of abuses.

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