A poor man jumps from the world’s tallest building and the bigger question of why doesn’t seem to be asked or answered. This is a bigger issue of inhumane working conditions for thousands of laborers in many companies in the region. The guy simply wanted to go home, was refused by his company AND COULDN’T JUST UP AND LEAVE DUE TO A BREACH OF THE BASIC HUMAN RIGHT THAT IS IGNORED IN THIS ENTIRE REGION (apart from Westerners…) WHICH IS THE RIGHT TO HAVE ACCESS TO HIS/HER OWN PASSPORT AS WELL AS THE RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT!
Oman Tribune’s report (from May 11th) on the man’s suicide at Burj Khalifa. This extremely short article made me wonder many things and so I bought a copy of the Gulf News (UAE) paper the next day for more details:
So, it’s not just “an Asian man” (how general is that description!!!) but as I suspected, an Indian national. It seems that I was not the only one interested in this story:
“He had slight problems at work” and “his company rejected his leave request“. What is not published is the horrible violations of human rights that take place for thousands of workers across the region. This fact is unknown to many of the foreigners working in the region (Brits, Canadians, Americans…) who couldn’t imagine someone denying them the right to have their passport in their possession but when they come to find of this very violation of others’ rights, it seems to be…okay. This is not just a matter of personal opinion. Let me remind you of Article 13(2) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.
That right is denied when racist policies say that Indian/Pakistani/Filipino/Sri Lankan (and others) labourers/maids/cleaners (and other “low class” occupations of “less important people” in “less developed countries”) cannot have their passport and instead they are locked up in their employers’ safes, how on earth are they supposed to be able to leave when they are in horrible situations?! The power goes to the employers. Governments, by not implementing Human Rights Article 13(2), are actually accomplices in human rights violations. The hypothetical problems of “how a company might lose money if their employees might suddenly flee” should never outweigh one person’s human rights, let along hundreds of thousands! We’re talking about peoples’ inalienable rights! There are plenty of people who would be more upset with me bringing up this issue for fear of what image it might portray of certain countries than they are about people not having their rights! Why wasn’t THIS ISSUE brought up at this recent meeting:
As the youth of the region fight for their own rights, I wish people would consider true social justice which is obtained when citizens think about the rights of the most vulnerable; the low-income earners and marginalized groups who do not have a voice.
Suicide is so sad. And the conditions for workers in UAE (and Oman) is soooo bad in alot of cases. And the treatment workers get on the streets can be disgusting too, on their days off.
I get mad at any of my Omani family members who hold people’s passports. If someone did that to me I’d be sooooooo mad at my rights be thus abused. I can’t stand that people think anyone third world doesn’t deserve their human rights. Grrrrr!
I know it’s been a topic so talked about already, but this being one of the biggest rants in the GCC, thanks for writing about it again Andy.
I think people need to bring this “right to ones passport” to centre stage. If Oman doesn’t do it, others will not follow suit. If Oman were to pave the way, others may follow!!!