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UAE: Sri Lankan workers homeless & stranded for months as govts. fail to hold employers accountable for providing basics or organise repatriation

Planes wait at Dubai Airport

"Homeless in the UAE," 29 Nov 2020

Hundreds of workers have been rendered homeless in the UAE over the last several months, primarily due to job loss and origin countries’ reluctance to accept repatriations. There has been a systemic failure in the UAE to protect the rights of workers and hold employers accountable for ensuring accommodation and food are taken care of until employees can be repatriated. Even so, new recruitment has already begun. Origin countries have also failed their citizens by not providing adequate resources to their missions – where they exist – to resolve grievances of those stranded. Sri Lankan workers are among those critically affected, in part because the country organises very few return flights each month...

For months, Sri Lankans in need of help and repatriation have slept in public parks near the consulate in Dubai. Many of them were initially provided accommodation by the Dubai government, a locally registered NGO, and volunteers. The treatment, however, by their home government and consulate has been callous and chaotic, according to those stranded...

Recently, another repatriation flight has been announced but many people on the tentative list have no money to purchase tickets, having been jobless for months.