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UAE Committed to Protecting Rights of Maids

Adel Arafa
Filed on April 2, 2010

ABU DHABI Major-General Nasser Al Menhali, acting Assistant Undersecretary for Naturalisation, Residency and Exits Affairs at the Interior Ministry, has said that the ministry is fully committed to provide a proper working environment to domestic helpers and others in the country.

He advised the embassies of foreign countries in the UAE to play a positive role with regard to complaints by housemaids by raising their awareness and advising them to pursue the channels set up by the Ministry of Interior for protecting their rights under a humanitarian and legal framework.

The top ministry official told Khaleej Times that all departments of naturalisation and residency across the country have units to settle disputes of housemaids. In case of a dispute between the sponsor and sponsored, the section receives the complaint and examines it thoroughly. If found guilty, the sponsor will be obliged to grant the complainant his/her delayed salary in full and the travel fare if he/she wishes to return home in addition to all his/her rights under the signed contracts between the two parties.

In case no compromise is reached, the section will transfer the complaint to a competent court. The absconder will have his rights dropped, he added.

Al Menhali said the Dispute Settlement Section dealt with 8,216 cases in 2008 of which 687 were in Abu Dhabi, 807 in Al Ain, 5,041 in Sharjah, 176 in Ajman, 45 in Umm Al Qaiwain, 75 in Fujairah, and 505 in Ras Al Khaimah.

This was a marked drop from the 19,814 such cases in 2007, which indicated the success of the Ministry under the directives of Lieutenant-General Shaikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, in which he frequently emphasises the respect for the rights of domestic workers to either stay withthe respondent sponsor or leave him, Al Menhali said.

In both cases, all rights of the two parties will be reserved in view of the law, he stressed.

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