29 May, 2009

Amnesty International Report 2009

In the Gulf states, migrant workers from the Indian sub-continent and other parts of Asia were a main stay of the oil-rich economies, providing labour and skills for construction and in the service industries. Often, however, such contract workers were required to live and work in grossly unsatisfactory conditions, excluded from any state protection against exploitation and abuse. If they protested against their conditions, as in Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the authorities’ response was to round them up and deport them.

While I value Amnesty International and its nobel cause, the above claim is not entirely true. There have been peaceful protests where things were resolved amicably and no one got hurt or deported.

Also of note is their soft tone towards Israel.

The rest of the report is well worth reading.


Anonymous said...

Soft tone? They accuse Israel of "stoking a growing humanitarian catastrophe." While probably true, I don't find the tone particularly soft.
Would you rather AI paint them as a comically sinister enemy, or take a mature look at a complicated matter that must be resolved?

Dubai Jazz said...

anon, anything that falls short of saying 'war crimes' is soft.

Anonymous said...

haha, that's rich, coming from someone who claims that the going-ons in dubai are not "entirely true". You wanna be black & white or ambiguously gray? Make up your mind!

He said...

Thank you for the link DJ, it was a good read.

I do somewhat agree with you about the migrant workers and the protests as I have witnessed it first hand. There has been progress in that area, but we still have a long way to go.

However, I do disagree with you about Amnesty Inter using a “soft” tone about Israeli actions.

In my honest opinion, Amnesty Inter has nailed it.

You said;
“anything that falls short of saying 'war crimes' is soft.”

Well they did, they even said it in a better way. The first paragraph of the whole report reeks of “war crimes”. It states;

“…..Israeli forces repeatedly breached the laws of war, including by carrying out direct attacks on civilians…..”

Any intelligent person will read between the lines and interpret that as a “war crime”, and I am not questioning your intelligence or anything like that, but let’s give credit where credit is due.

The report is spot on, in my opinion. It is not political neither is it biased. Amnesty Inter doesn’t concern itself with past history; it looks at the situation as it is in its present nature. You will never see or hear them argue the Palestinian / Israeli conflict as it was. A lot of people will argue that to understand the conflict you will need to look at the history, well Amnesty Inter doesn’t do that. Good on them

I don’t think they were soft on Israel, matter of fact, I think they served the Palestinians their right with this report. The more reports like this, the more the message will get across. The pen is mightier than the sword.

Dubai Jazz said...


Thanks for the elaborate comment, at least one intelligent comment comes by every now and again :)

Actually, my reference to Israel at the end was an after thought. The moderators of this blog don't like the israeli/arab conflict being discused here since it's been over-discussed in the past.

Anyway, by definition yes, war crimes are basically breaches of war law. But why not just say the exact words that represent the situation?

It's like serving an indictment to a murderer by accusing him of 'pulling the trigger of a gun, which released bullets that entered the victim's skulls and killed him'. Have you ever heard of such a charge?

I didn't say the report (which is indeed an excellent read) was biased or politicized. I almost agree with ALL the other points it had raised. I just wish they would have been more blunt when it comes to Israel. That's all.

amazingsusan said...

Thanks for the sharing the link DJ. AI reports are probably as close as anyone will ever come to "objective." This one appears to me to be comprehensive, factual and informed.

I was particularly interested in those sections which referenced women.

In case you missed them, there were also country-specific links at the end, including one for the UAE.

With respect to imprisonment, a friend recently sent me a link to a BBC segment about Iraqi prisoners which made me weep.

Entitled Inside a Baghdad Jail, it can be found here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/newsnight/7749921.stm

I think it's probably fair to assume from this and other AI reports that similar conditions likely exist throughout the region as well as in other parts of the world of course.

Seabee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Seabee said...

"While I value Amnesty International and its nobel cause, the above claim is not entirely true. There have been peaceful protests where things were resolved amicably and no one got hurt or deported."It is true Jazz, and it's no secret. There have of course been peaceful protests but there have been violent ones too, reported in papers in UAE, which involved serious damage to property, arrests and deportations. I needn't give you the links, you can google to go to the articles.

Dubai Jazz said...

Thanks for the link to that video Susan.

Wow, it's heartbreaking to say the least. One trillion dollars and hunderds of thousands KIAs later, Iraq is probably no better.

Dubai Jazz said...

I know about these violent protest Seabee. My point was that the report made it sound like ALL labor protests are met with rounding up and deportation.

amazingsusan said...

You are right DJ, the wording suggests this was the response in ALL cases.

However, the only absolute is that there are no absolutes; there are exceptions to every rule; etceteras.

It would have been more accurate had they worded it differently; perhaps thus (choose the qualifier that fits depending on frequency):

...the authorities' response in one/a couple of/ a few/some/many/most/virtually all/all instances was to...

Perhaps it was just an oversight; or maybe they didn't have the full picture...

Anonymous said...

I love the Chinese labourers who were brought in for the Burj Dubai project. They were the first group to begin protests. I cheered for them from the sidelines. Nothing like that had ever happened here before as the workers from the subcontinent have a long history of being abused by the powers that be.

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