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Climate Summit Host UAE Blasted by HRW for Migrant Worker Abuse, Toxic Pollution & Mass Surveillance

Written by on 04/12/2023

The U.N. climate summit underway in Dubai marks the first time in nine years that representatives from Human Rights Watch have been allowed access to the United Arab Emirates. We speak with researcher Joey Shea about toxic pollution from UAE fossil fuels processing, and the state of political rights in the authoritarian country — especially for migrant workers who constitute 88% of the population but lack many labor protections under the kafala system. “There is no independent civil society in this country,” says Shea, adding that there is “sustained targeting of human rights defenders, activists, judges, lawyers, regular Emirati citizens” and anyone else who speaks out. Shea also warns that attendees of the COP28 conference are subject to mass surveillance from the moment they step foot in the country.

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