Human Lives Human Rights: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) police carried out a sweeping campaign arbitrarily detaining and deporting at least 375 African migrant workers who were seized from their homes in terrifying night-time raids, new report says.
These migrant workers taken to prison where they were subjected to degrading treatment and other multiple human rights violations, before being collectively deported without any form of due process, new research has found.
Hundreds of African nationals were rounded up on the night of 24-25 June 2021 before being arbitrarily detained incommunicado in Al-Wathba prison for up to two months.
Emirati police later falsified negative PCR tests for them to travel, stripped them of their belongings, including vital legal documents, and denied them access to legal counsel.
According to the report, these African workers were living and working in the UAE legally. This racial targeting caused devastation in the lives of some of the most marginalized members of Emirati society at a time when the UAE government presents itself as a model country for multicultural tolerance as it hosts Dubai Expo 2020.
The authorities have brutalized hundreds of individuals on the basis of their skin color, ill-treating them in detention, stripping them of their personal possessions and their dignity before deporting them in together.
The UAE must take a clear and public stance that any racist targeting for whatever reason will not be accepted and they must ensure that those who already suffered such treatment be provided with appropriate restitution and redress.
The Emirati authorities detained these workers for between 35 and 61 days and summarily deported them without affording them the opportunity to challenge their deportation.
The UAE’s Ministry of Interior issued a statement on 3 September stating arrests of 376 women and men had been carried out “as part of legal procedures to address crimes related to human trafficking.”
However, the African nationals were not given a chance to challenge their deportation as required under international law and due process standards.
The UAE authorities must investigate this appalling incident in view of providing the victims prompt restitution of their belongings and redress for the shameful treatment they were subjected to prior to their deportation.
The UAE is bound by obligations under international customary and treaty law prohibiting racial discrimination and forbidding forcible returns all together.