Poor migrant workers from India are allegedly being dumped in “inadequate isolation and quarantine facilities” in the UAE – and one Indian Minister is calling for them to be flown home.
The Chief Minister of the southern Indian state of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan, wrote to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to warn that he had received complaints from Indians in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) about “inadequate isolation and quarantine facilities”.
Vijayan went on to write: “The majority of Keralites are blue-collar workers and living in crowded facilities in Dubai. Therefore the probability of spreading the disease is very high.”
The United Nations states that around 3 million Indian citizens work in the UAE, with nearly 1 million of those from Kerala.
The state’s Chief Minister went on to say that citizens returning to Kerala would be testing and have their quarantine needs provided by the state government.
The request comes as the Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre based in Dubai started a petition with India’s High Court asking for the government to take action.
A lawyer representing those who signed the petition, Haris Beeran, told local newspaper The National: “We know of 10,000 people just from Kerala who want to come back home. Many workers no longer have jobs [and] some people are on visit visas that have expired. They don’t have any means to live in the UAE and would rather return to their family at this time.”
However, Indian Ambassador to the UAE Pavan Kapoor said that repatriation of Indian citizens cannot begin until after the lockdown in India has been lifted.
Foreign workers make up approximately 80 percent of the UAE’s population and the state has been widely criticised for its treatment of the foreign citizens, with accusations of exploitative and abusive working conditions, and workers having their passports taken from them on entry.
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