Appalling working conditions in the UAE has reportedly led to the suicide of 35 Ugandan citizens since January, a new Ugandan parliamentary report revealed. A Parliamentary inquiry was forced after a total of 48 Ugandans died in the first eight months of 2017.
David Abala, a Ugandian lawmaker and the head of the committee expressed shock by the findings of their field visit, claiming that rape, torture, unpaid wages and confinement were some of the chief reasons behind the suicide cases.
“Why is the government still sending workers to Arab countries that do not have bilateral agreements with Uganda?” Abala asked.
The commission reported that some maids were treated like slaves and were not allowed to eat the same food as their employers or even use the same plates.
Migrant workers make up over half the UAE’s population but have limited labour rights, leaving them vulnerable to mistreatment.
According to reports, there are around 65,000 Ugandans currently in the Middle East. A Ugandan Embassy worker in Abu Dhabi told a UAE newspaper the embassy was trying to provide counselling to those in distress.
“I urge all Ugandans to come forward to the embassy or call us if you have any problems at work or other issues, so we can help,” said Dr Omara, a counsellor.