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Dubai-anyone else refused to holiday there for ethical/moral reasons?

(242 Posts)
MissThang Wed 25-Jun-14 22:34:54

Got me thinking today after a friend said she's off to dubai (with a smug grin!) . Dubai from what I've heard and seen written, seems to have been built on slave labour mostly by people from asian/African backgrounds, who are apparently very much mistreated.
Apologies if this thread has been done before, I'm relatively new to MN. Thoughts?

WilliamShatner Wed 25-Jun-14 22:43:17

Human rights in Dubai are based on the Constitution and enacted law, which supposedly promise equitable treatment of all people, regardless of race, nationality or social status, per Article 25 of the Constitution of the United Arab Emirates.

Despite this relative freedom, Freedom House has stated: "Extreme forms of self-censorship are widely practiced, particularly regarding issues such as local politics, culture, religion, or any other subject the government deems politically or culturally sensitive.

The Dubai Media Free Zone (DMFZ), an area in which foreign media outlets produce print and broadcast material intended for foreign audiences, is the only arena in which the press operates with relative freedom."

Human rights organizations have complained about violations of human rights in Dubai.Most notably, some of the 250,000 foreign laborers in the city have been alleged to live in conditions described by Human Rights Watch as being "less than humane." The mistreatment of foreign workers was a subject of the disputed 2009 documentary, Slaves in Dubai.

Personally, I would jump at the chance to have a big spend up there!

WilliamShatner Wed 25-Jun-14 22:46:00

I don't suppose it's ever any fun to be at the bottom of society and toil day in day out for peanuts.

I wouldn't holiday there.

oohdaddypig Wed 25-Jun-14 22:46:45

Me. DH used to go.

Fucking horrible place built using slave labour and zero human rights.

Have read horror stories of 'migrant workers'

eurochick Wed 25-Jun-14 22:48:09

I wouldn't go there by choice (quite likely to have to for work one day but have managed to dodge it so far).

MissThang Wed 25-Jun-14 22:48:15

Thanks WS. It just leaves a bad taste in my mouth tbh. The hypocrisy of a state that claims to be 'Muslim' yet caters for and then jails/arrests foreigners for unislamic offences. Can't understand it

MissThang Wed 25-Jun-14 22:50:03

I guess i find it a very tacky holiday destination. Told dh I never want to go.

MegBusset Wed 25-Jun-14 22:50:32

Yep, I wouldn't go there, but then I wouldn't travel to a load of other countries that many people happily jet off to (Maldives, IndIa, Jamaica, Egypt, South Africa, to name but a few). I don't know how anyone can relax in a Western ghetto separated by guns and barbed wire from the local poverty, misery and oppression, no matter how nice the beaches.

Vagabond Wed 25-Jun-14 23:20:54

There is human slavery everywhere, including here in Britain. If you consider human trafficking and slavery to be bad - well, we're not much better off here. At least in Dubai, they know EXACTLY who is there. Not so much here where our ports are wide open and we don't have a grip on it. It's ridiculous to suggest otherwise.

Giving support to Dubai gives hope to the Middle East. The whole territory is in dire straights and Dubai is a beacon of hope within a region of turmoil.

Do you buy clothes that are ethically sourced? Ever visited Sri Lanka, India or Bangladesh where most of your clothes come from? The workers in Dubai have it FAR BETTER than they would in their home countries where your clothes are made. In Dubai, they have food, water and shelter and 10 x what they can earn at home. You should see the shit pile slums they live in at home.

I KNOW that doesn't make it better but the more WE visit Dubai, the more pressure the country has to make things better for their workers. WE can make a difference - and we already have. Expat workers there and the international community have made a HUGE difference.

And let's not forget ONE important fact: the labourers in Dubai PAY agents in their home countries for their job contracts and spend the first two years (at least) paying them back for the privilege of having a job. The corruption and indentured slavery starts at home. Dubai just pays the market rate. For us: let's keep paying to go there and make the market rate go higher.

Would you rather Dubai be Afganistan? Or Iran. Need I go on....

Get a grip on Dubai. It is a beacon of hope in a terrible region.. Let's support them by having a fab holiday in what is arguably the best family destination between here and Asia.

I love Dubai and all that it stands for. It's the flickering flame that we need to help ignite so that neighbouring countries can say: hey - we can do this too (because we have masses of fucking oil - hooray!)

justabigdisco Wed 25-Jun-14 23:22:58

I wouldn't go there cos it looks fucking boring.

Fram Thu 26-Jun-14 00:21:42

I felt like this, but then I stopped and thought about all the other places in the world where slave labour or indentured servants built/maintained everything. Where did our tea come from? Sugar, fruit, coffee, wheat? A lot of Europe's wealth was built on slavery and exploitation, and I can't change that.
Should I never travel anywhere?

However, I just do not see the point of Dubai. A shopping mall in a desert? confused I would never go there.

vagabond- 'a beacon of hope'? interesting viewpoint.

SinisterBuggyMonth Thu 26-Jun-14 00:41:34

Friend of a friend lived and worked out there for years, enjoyed the lifestyle, but things went tits up when his business folded and he ended up in prison due to weird laws! He eventually was released and came back to the uk immediately. All very odd.

It doesn't appeal to me. I went to Oman a few years ago, stunning place but was struck by how, apart from the female staff at the hotel, I never saw a single woman outside.

GrannyOnTheSchoolRun Thu 26-Jun-14 02:45:31

Sinister, I think you must be confused about where you were on holiday because based on what you've said about not seeing a single woman outside - you were not in Oman.

The reality is that had you actually been in Oman you would have had contact with Omani women in abundance from the moment you arrived, perhaps even as flight deck/cabin crew on the aircraft you flew in on.

Im thinking about the women in my family/the women I know, the jobs they do - the office workers, the checkout operator, the waitress, the SAS trained bodyguard, the policewoman, the 2 bank managers, the geologists, the university lecturer, the DR's, the high ranking civil servants, the businesswoman, the oil and gas industry professionals, the teacher - and all of the latter educated to at least masters level with a handful of them having Phd's in their chosen field.

Omani women from all backgrounds are out there at all hours going about there daily lives. There's there's absolutely no missing them as anyone who has really been to Oman will know.

Your comments would be laughable if they didn't make you look so ridiculous.

JustLoveDubai Thu 26-Jun-14 03:44:43

I've spent most of my life in Dubai and feel sad when I see the negativity towards it on MN and in the tabloid press. Often the views written are from hearsay or from a journalist who has pitched up, spent a couple of days wandering round a mall and having spoken to two or three people and that's it.

There is no 'slave labour' here. The guys building our homes come from a life where they have absolutely no job prospects whatsoever - the chance to be able to send home their full salary for 2 years means that they can educate their children, they can build a house, they can start a life when they get back.

Yes it's tough for them. Yes their conditions are not what we are used to, but there is so much work now done by the government and by private companies, schools, etc to show these guys that they are appreciated and that whatever little we can give them really helps. They are provided with accommodation & food so that their salaries are sent straight home to their families, and are often given care packages with toiletries etc.

During the summer months they are not allowed to work outside between 12 and 3pm.

Dubai wouldn't be what it is without the guys who work hard to build it, we all know that, the government knows it (There is currently a tv ad in my lift at work which shows what Dubai is and how it came to be and the guys who built it feature in it) and they are very much appreciated.

Please bear in mind that the whole 'minimum wage' ethic which works in the UK does not work all over the world, if it wasn't worth it for them, they simply wouldn't come. It is financially worth it for them, however it sounds to us. Sometimes in order to appreciate how much their salary means to them, you have to visit their home countries to see what a difference it makes. For example in Kerala now in India, you will find now that the majority of people doing the work outside homes is women - because the men are now in the Gulf region earning. Women have started working and the economy in Kerala is booming as they now have funds from the money earned in the Gulf & people have more disposable income.

Without this income the economies of the countries where these guys are from would be affected a lot.

The views of women not being allowed outside etc are so out of date/wrong! the Middle East is a lovely part of the world to live, once you get beneath the 'tabloid' exterior and discover the culture and people underneath, you will see a completely different side to it.

Lastly, you might enjoy watching this interview regarding "champ of the camp" interesting.

SteveBrucesNose Thu 26-Jun-14 04:18:51

Another thing to remember is that the minimum wage in the UK hasn't existed long - I remember it being implemented and I'm only young trying to convince myself there that I'm not growing up and before that there were extremely low paid immigrants doing many low-scale jobs.

The country in its current state has only existed for just over 40 years. Before that there was little civilisation. We're basing our viewpoint on our lives in one of the major superpowers, the first major explorers, we started the industrial revolution, all hundreds and hundreds of years ago. Slave labour built the starts of pretty much every xity in the world, but we've had a few hundred years to forget/move forward from this.

Yes there's a long way for improvement, but this is being worked on. For example the camps where the construction workers live - there's major companies and government entities building new, improved facilities. No it's not what you or I would live in, but vastly better than those back in their home countries making cheap clothing for a living. These new camps have multiple restaurants serving food from various countries and regions, cinemas, gyms, cricket/football/basketball pitches, mosques, prayer rooms for other religions. It's come a vast way from the 90s and 00s. One of the biggest clients, a major government entity in Abu Dhabi, insists on all contractors down to the small subcontractors doing a few thousand pounds worth of work on a multi billion pound project, house their labour in their camps for the duration of their project. This enables them to know that they're housed in a decent manner. Yes there are still unscrupulous companies who don't treat their staff well, but it's beginning to be overcome.

As for the arrests/jailing for un-Islamic behaviour caused by drinking, I've seen people arrested in Manchester City centre on Friday and Saturdays nights for much less than people do here - you hear about the worst cases only in both places - if you saw the stats on the number of drunk and disorderly arrests in major uk cities for weekends I bet they're much higher than here. Jail is usually only when something has gone seriously wrong and/or the person has got violent or abusive to coppers, which isn't acceptable anywhere. I'm not being naive, I know there are some incidents that are well uncalled for, but seriously can you say that all arrests are warranted in the Uk? That there's no issues with the police arresting someone for minimal reasons and holding them in cells? That ALL UK coppers act in the way they're supposed to? There's likely to be bad eggs there too I've never met one or had dealings like this, but you read about it in the DM as often as the subai horror stories

However having lived here for 6 years I do kinda see the point about the dullness. We get to weekends when he's not working and wonder what to do. Yes, another shopping mall, another boozy lunch, lying on a beach. Sounds great for a few days. But as all there is to do? Yes it is most definitely a bit dull.

Fideliney Thu 26-Jun-14 04:26:55

The slaves sometimes get care packages containing toiletries? While sleeping in the shipping containers? I bet that makes up for everything. <books tickets>

Fideliney Thu 26-Jun-14 04:32:01

Posters aren't really saying that UK slavery situation, human rights record and justice system are comparable to those of Dubai, are they?

Vagabond and Steve you do seem to be attempting to say something along those lines. Have I misread?

springbabydays Thu 26-Jun-14 04:45:26

I found it a fascinating mix of old and new when I visited en route to another destination. Stopped off for a day and a night. Not sure I would have wanted to stay longer but I certainly enjoyed my visit. The people were lovely.

I actually had no idea about the 'slave labour' issue (thanks for enlightening me op) but as another poster mentioned, most places started off with similar. I also think there are more ethically challenged destinations in the world and personally would save my protests for those.

FellReturneth Thu 26-Jun-14 04:48:25

Most places in the world have been built on slave labour and zero human rights, including all the beautiful historic parts of our own fair country, of which we are so smugly proud.

The only difference is how long ago it happened. Do you think we could ever afford to build another St Paul's Cathedral from scratch now, with those pesky unions insisting that we pay highly skilled labourers and stonemasons and artisan craftsmen a fair British wage? How many hours would it take to carve one pillar by hand? hmm

That's the nature of a developing country for you. They will insist on doing the things that we ourselves are now too civilised and sophisticated to continue doing. Which is very handy for us because we no longer need to do it, so we can be sanctimonious about all sorts of things from the splendour of our own surroundings. We already have our infrastructure and our palaces and our spa towns, our hospitals and our airports.

Dubai is no different to India, China, Russia or anywhere else where a relatively new and sudden injection of money has caused highly visible and ostentatious development carried out by poor people at the behest of rich people. Go anywhere in Africa and Asia and you will see pretty much the same thing. I don't necessarily like or agree with the conditions that these guys sometimes work in, but developing countries need time to develop and get everything right, just like the UK once did. We sent children up chimneys and down mines not all that long ago. I do not for the life of me understand why Dubai and Qatar get singled out for such criticism, when other developing countries do not. I suppose it's because they buy in the cheap foreign labour to exploit, rather than exploiting their own poor, like India and China, which is obviously so much more acceptable. confused

If you don't like the sound of it, don't go. But let other people do as they please without being so sanctimonious about it. It's a lot more complicated than you think.

Fideliney Thu 26-Jun-14 04:51:46

Has it caused a disagreement with your DH OP?

This is interesting for anyone unaware BTW;

GrannyOnTheSchoolRun Thu 26-Jun-14 04:55:08

On reflection I think Sinister posted with her nonsense just to be provocative and I would put money on her friend having done something to warrant being in jail when his business failed. Dishonoured cheques and owing others money would be my first guess as to what got him arrested.

Re the lifestyle of some of those here. Yep, many have enjoyed the lifestyle while pretending to themselves they were here running a business. And many of them ended up in jail when the lifestyle and pretence caught up with them.

Fideliney Thu 26-Jun-14 04:55:55

Ah but Fell what is the excuse, with so much oil wealth sloshing about? You can't compare that to Africa or Asia or Medieval Europe and the lack of funds and technology those comparisons entail.

PetulaGordino Thu 26-Jun-14 05:22:31

I'm very wary about going to places where women are treated as second class citizens (in law). This is in many ways a selfish thing because I would worry about how I would be treated if something went wrong and I got into trouble. I would want to be very clear before I went what my rights were as a woman.

Mind you, I disagree strongly with legalised prostitution and I do go to Amsterdam for work, so clearly there is some hypocrisy on my part there.

Dubai itself simply doesn't interest me as a holiday destination - it's not my sort of thing

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