ICFUAE's statement on today's opening of Abu Dhabi Louvre museum
As the Abu Dhabi Louvre opens it's doors today, it's crucial that we don't ignore the manifold abuses that those laboured on the project endured during its 10 year construction.
In 2015 Human Rights Watch produced a detailed report documenting the appalling conditions that those that laboured on the project worked under, outlining how the conditions of the mainly South Asian workforce amounted to forced labour where they were liable to arrest and deportation if they dared complain about the dreadful conditions they were labouring in.
The report documented how some of the construction employers of the company would withhold wages and benefits from the workers, confiscate their passports, and house them in substandard conditions. In 2015, it was reported that a 28-year-old Pakistani man had died on the construction site of the Louvre museum on the Saadiyat Island, in Abu Dhabi.
The abuses faced by the migrant workers at the Abu Dhabi Louvre project is far from being an isolated case. Migrant workers, largely of South Asian origin, account for over half the population in the UAE and have no political or economic rights, leaving them especially vulnerable to mistreatment at the hands of Emirati authorities. The appalling working and living conditions that they are forced to endure have long been documented by human rights organisations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
It is through projects such as the Abu Dhabi Louvre that the Emirati authorities are able to project an image of tolerance, openness, and modernity to the outside world. However, it is important that the museum's displays of dazzling grandeur and architectural design do not detract attention from the much wider issue of systematic human rights violations in the UAE.
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