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22 Jul 2020

Mariam Kiparoidze, Coda

Gulf migrant workers unable to make contact with families due to ban on free VoIP services

"Foreign workers in the Gulf still can’t call home", 21 Jul 2020

Human rights organizations have called for Gulf countries to lift the ban on free VoIP services. The UAE, Qatar and Oman have eased some restrictions by permitting the use of platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams for the purpose of distance learning. But not much has changed for migrant workers who are still facing connectivity issues with VoIP services when trying to call their families...Governments in Gulf countries often limit how digital communications apps can be accessed as a means to isolate migrant populations, said Khalid Ibrahim, executive director at the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, Beirut-based NGO. “Migrant workers — they are always under pressure, they always have difficulties, they are always in poor conditions, so they try to isolate them from having communication with the outside world,” said Ibrahim, in a telephone interview...Ibrahim said most migrant workers in the Gulf face a “hostile environment.” “This is just confirmation of what we already know,” he added.