Suicide cases on the decline, says official

DUBAI - Suicide cases in Dubai dropped last year to 57, six cases down from the 2001 figures, a sign that the phenomenon is on the decline, though insignificant.

By A Correspondent

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Published: Sat 23 Aug 2003, 8:14 PM

Last updated: Wed 1 Apr 2015, 10:14 PM

Officials disclosed that the number had decreased from 63 cases in 2001 because of a multitude of reasons, among which is the intervention by the authorities to resolve labour disputes that led many blue-collar workers to take the extreme step.

A total of 44 people in Dubai attempted to kill themselves in 2002. But the overall number of suicide and attempted suicide cases in the UAE was 249 in 2002. Of the number, 91 committed suicide and 158 attempted to take their lives.

The figure relevant to Dubai was released in a statistical report issued by federal authorities. In 2001, some 70 per cent of those who killed themselves in Dubai were Indians. The latest reported suicide case in Dubai in 2003 was in April when an employee of a company in the Jebel Ali area was found dead hanging from the ceiling in a warehouse.

The 35-year-old Asian man was not identified by police, but Captain Khalid bin Hazim, Director of the Jebel Ali police station, said the man had worked for a privately-owned firm. He said investigators found six letters in the pocket of his trousers which he wrote before taking the extreme step.

The police official said that in the letters, the man expressed his anger against all officials in the company, except one employee who was apparently kind to him. "These people committing suicide were sensitive, but surely not sensible in most cases," one police analyst told this paper. Dubai Police had said in February last year that they were conducting a study to fathom the cause of suicide by expatriates.

Police researchers scrutinised the causes behind the phenomenon and the living conditions and circumstances surrounding such incidents. The conclusions are now part of police courses relevant to criminal investigations. Police had said the phenomenon was worthy of study, so that the reasons and the circumstances of these individuals could be understood to a certain extent.

Police studies have revealed that depression was the main cause, especially in the case of low-paid expatriate workers living away from their families. In most cases, especially of Indians committing suicide, the victims used ropes or wires round their necks to strangulate themselves from the ceiling fan.

Many cases were reported at labour camps or at company dormitories in remote areas of the city.

Investigators said that in some cases, the victims would leave a note explaining why they took the extreme step. But in many other cases, the victims committed suicide without giving any explanation.

Neighbouring Sharjah witnessed 25 attempted suicide cases. No deaths in suicide cases were reported.

Interestingly, the most bizarre case was of a labourer who claimed he was not paid his salary for many months.

He had threatened to strangulate himself in public and wrote letters to Khaleej Times and an Arabic newspaper giving the time and location of his intended action.

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