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25 May, 2005

Hypocrisy in our time

Over the past year, Gulf News has been running a regular campaign against the illegal retaining of passports by employers. As Gulf News itself points out, the practice has been illegal for years:

Lieutenant General Shaikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Interior, has issued directives to all government departments to apply a law according to which retaining the passport of any UAE resident without a court order is illegal.

"A passport is a personal document that proves the identity of the holder, and the laws stipulate that the bearer must keep his or her passport and present it to the authorities upon request," said Shaikh Saif, who was then undersecretary of the ministry, in the circular dated December 25, 2002.

And now we learn that Gulf News itself has become one of the worst offenders. It is forcing expatriate staff to hand over their passports, threatening to withold their salaries if they don't comply:

One British staff member, who asked not to be named for fear of losing his job, said: "Their defence is that, although Gulf News has asked all its foreign workers to take part in an illegal activity, it is the workers' fault because they agreed to do so in their contracts."

But in a statement, Annole Steyn, head of human resources at Gulf News publisher Al Nisr, said: "It is company policy to hold employee passports when they are in the UAE, if the organisation is the legal sponsor of the individual.

Disgusting and despicable.



Blogger Muppetry said...

Why should a self-censoring 'news'paper be any different to the vast majority of companies and businesses? Afterall, while the employees are the 'family' of the business, and their 'team' effort makes for profits and good business - the employer will be the first person to hand over everything and a paper cup to the authorities should they ever feel the need to.

Warranted or not.

The taking of passports by anyone outside of your own embassy, customs officers, etc, should be illegal - in fact, I believe it is.... :-/

25 May, 2005 16:41  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you guys really Live in the UAE? :o

25 May, 2005 18:47  

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