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24 September, 2005

Suffer little children

It is not humane, moral or charitable to ban small children from education regardless of the perceived irregularity or illegality of their parents' status:

Shahi who has been residing in the UAE for 30 years and works for a government department for last 20 years, is married to an Omani national and all his children were born in the UAE .

Shahi said that last year he went to Al Iman private school in Sharjah to register his son Ahmed who could join his other brothers already studying in grades 4 and 5, but the school administration asked him to bring the son next year because he was under age .

But, when he went back to register his son for the current academic year, the school administration apologised that they could not register his son as per instructions of the Ministry of Education not to register stateless students.

This is the cruel waste of a young person's future contribution to the only country he has ever known.

It is unwise, it is unconstructive, it is unfair.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

The can of worms of UAE citizenship is a very large one to open.

A short answer is that one has to be of the third generation of a resident family to be born in the UAE (with the previous 2 generations also having to be born in the UAE) in order to be considered a bona fide UAE National. Otherwise things are very unclear.

24 September, 2005 01:42  
Blogger secretdubai said...

It's not about citizenship - it's about allowing a child access to education, albeit at a private or government school.

"Stateless" children have no right to be registered in any kind of school. This is appalling.

24 September, 2005 01:55  
Blogger pixelsonic said...

well you know how bureacracy works here...

24 September, 2005 02:12  
Blogger Razaldo said...

Education is everyone's birth right, nobody should be denied this right.
How are we expected to raise a "civilized society" then?

24 September, 2005 05:38  
Blogger Magnus Nystedt said...

It's a basic human right in my mind, and a society has to provide equal opportunity education to all if it's going to survive and prosper long term. Denying children education is never a good thing.

24 September, 2005 07:19  
Blogger Queen-M said...

From "Convention on the Rights of the Child"

Article 28

1. States Parties recognize the right of the child to education, and with a view to achieving this right progressively and on the basis of equal opportunity, they shall, in particular: (a) Make primary education compulsory and available free to all; (b) Encourage the development of different forms of secondary education, including general and vocational education, make them available and accessible to every child, and take appropriate measures such as the introduction of free education and offering financial assistance in case of need; (c) Make higher education accessible to all on the basis of capacity by every appropriate means;
(d) Make educational and vocational information and guidance available and accessible to all children; (e) Take measures to encourage regular attendance at schools and the reduction of drop-out rates.

2. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that school discipline is administered in a manner consistent with the child's human dignity and in conformity with the present Convention.

3. States Parties shall promote and encourage international cooperation in matters relating to education, in particular with a view to contributing to the elimination of ignorance and illiteracy throughout the world and facilitating access to scientific and technical knowledge and modern teaching methods. In this regard, particular account shall be taken of the needs of developing countries.

This convention was ratified by the UAE 3 Jan. 1997.

However, because the UAE has not ratified any of the UN conventions regarding the rights of refugees or stateless persons, it can be maintained that the encouraging words of the paragraph quoted above, do not apply to stateless children.

24 September, 2005 09:15  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Mother of the Children is Omani!

And this is an entire issue on its own, A Children to a British Women get British Nationality BUT why not an Arab in this case an Omani women be able to get Nationality for her children?


Nah well, We not just lack education but womens rights and common sense.

Secy, I apologise to you for making some comments against your site.

Good Job for speaking your Voice for the desparity(sorry dont know how to spell it) of this muslim family when muslims dont give a toss for them! and a country they worked for abondaned them.

You are my hero.

24 September, 2005 09:22  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about this?
United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Article 26.

(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.

(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.

(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

24 September, 2005 11:11  
Blogger Queen-M said...

The only problem with "United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights" is that it is NOT legally binding.

24 September, 2005 11:26  
Blogger Tim Newman said...

The only problem with "United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights" is that it is NOT legally binding.

Well, quite. The reason for this is they are usually unenforceable.

24 September, 2005 11:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a sad day when a country such as the UAE with such potential for the future bans education for certain classes of people living on it's soil. The words of Sheikh Zayed still echo in my mind about how "Shabab" (i.e. youth) are the main assets of this country. How can this happen in 2005?

Instead of opening a debate on whether this is criminal, or if they should be given UAE or Omani citizenship etc.. I think we should try to raise the profile of this case and hopefully someone with some clout will hear of it and do something about it (does 'wasta' ring any bells?). Otherwise if you go through the official route then that poor uneducated kid will grow up uneducated and have uneducated kids himself before anything is done.

May something positive come out of this.

24 September, 2005 12:08  
Blogger Shula B said...

It's a way to get rid of the without nationality population.

24 September, 2005 12:14  
Blogger secretdubai said...

>>The words of Sheikh Zayed still echo in my mind about how "Shabab" (i.e. youth) are the main assets of this country.

I believe that if Sheikh Zayed were alive and knew of this problem, he would (a) pay for that child's education himself, and (b) order all bidoun children to be allowed at least a private education here.

24 September, 2005 12:32  
Blogger Emirati said...

okay, first of all this family should try whatever they can to attain the documents, since the mother is omani the son has a right to get an omani passport i believe.

if that option is exausted then the government should allow them to register in a school, but they have no legal documents at all, this is a problem (for security and registration reasons).

24 September, 2005 12:48  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Click link below which is self explanatory

24 September, 2005 13:00  
Blogger Equalizer said...

That is sad. We have a serious problem with the "stateless" in Kuwait. Most people think of the direct short term costs of naturalizing them on both a political and an economic level. The reality is that with more manpower you can build a great economy. The US was built on immigration and naturalization policies. If it wasn't for that, It would far less powerfull than it is today.

24 September, 2005 13:05  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"since the mother is omani the son has a right to get an omani passport i believe." Original Comment by Uninformed emarati,

Mr. emarati, We all are born into this world from the same source that our mothers posses!

So why is this discrimantion and blind eye to this probelm of "Bedon Guwaz" (stateless), First off all let me tell, We were are statless people in this country but the only time we got passport is when WEST sent us camera and paper!

and after camera and paper we were able to "citizenshipise" ourselves.

some came walking from yemen, some from Iran and some from whereever, dont who snooze doesnt mean they lose!

they must be given their right which they deserve.

by the way, Oman does not issue citizenship to children of Omani mothers but they do give citizenship to children of RUSSIAN mothers! - bcoz the hubby is omani.

And its the same case with all the Gulf countries.


24 September, 2005 14:01  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Baluchi - it should be noted that the UAE government at least is taking moves to improve the rights of UAE national women who marry non-UAE national men.

This wouldn't apply to an Omani national lady of course, but the situation for Emiratis is becoming more fair.

24 September, 2005 14:12  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

24 September, 2005 16:25  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Balushi - wind it down.

I don't mind you commenting reasonably here, but this is NOT your blog, and if you can't behave politely and sensibly, I'm going to delete your future comments, sensible or not.

I beg you again to get your own blog. You're getting people's backs up here, including mine.

This is your final warning.

24 September, 2005 17:07  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Balushi, oh dear Balushi

BTW, is Balushi meaning the race of Balushistan or the Arabic word for “Free”?
Inquiring mind like to know.

Yes the rules and laws regulating naturalization and marriages are not perfect and far from it but we are aware of the problem and steps albeit slow are being studied to reach a fair and practical solution.

Having said that, I would like you to glance an eye on the Turkish naturalization problem in Germany, Pieds Noires problem in France and even GB in terms of whether the child does or does not acquire the mother nationality at birth.
If the UAE and OMAN laws are bad then the aforementioned countries laws stink.

There is unfairness in the whole wide world and before criticizing for the sake of criticizing, why does not the Elitist Western Gvt show us the way while en route with teaching us democracy and concepts of nudity.

And I just thought I mentioned in case you missed that between your Simpsons and your Pampers, that the Russian prostitutes you talk about are still human beings at the end of the day.

So grow up!

24 September, 2005 17:20  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Secy, what did i do?

Anon, I dont care about germany or timbuktu! All i know is some changes have to be done, problems cannot be solved by hiding.

just becuase somebody is suffereing from Cancer i must not solve my flu? what is this?

24 September, 2005 17:57  
Blogger moryarti said...

SD - do you mind sharing some info on the rights of Emirati Women married to non local men? Do they get to give their kids the nationality?

24 September, 2005 22:56  
Blogger secretdubai said...

moryati - I am really not knowledgeable about the area. I do recall - from newspaper articles - that the situation has been inequal (UAE men marrying "out" versus UAE women marrying "out") but that the government is making moves to change this.

24 September, 2005 23:18  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dont want to post anymore, they dont like me here. I am going to another place, bye bye secy!

24 September, 2005 23:18  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

secy, are u ignoring me?????!!!!

24 September, 2005 23:28  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok I am going to sleep now, i will come back tomorrow.

24 September, 2005 23:29  
Blogger moryarti said...

thanks SD

25 September, 2005 00:21  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Click link below which is self explanatory

24 September, 2005 13:00

For some who could not access the above URL details below

Support Migrants' Rights
Letter to World Bank President James Wolfensohn on Eve of Annual Meetings
September 18, 2003

Dear President Wolfensohn,
As the World Bank holds its annual meetings in Dubai in late September, we hope you will highlight the importance of protecting migrant workers, both in the Gulf region and the global economy as a whole.

Migrant workers will play an important but largely invisible role at your Dubai meeting. They will be the ones who clean your rooms, serve your coffee and tend to the lawns of the convention center. Nearly ten million foreigners, most of them unskilled or semi-skilled migrants, work in Dubai and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states. Migrant workers comprise some 90 percent of the labor force of 1.7 million in the United Arab Emirates.

But migrant workers today play an even more significant role in the global economy, not only as a hard-working and mobile labor force in their host countries, but as a major source of capital for their families and communities at home.

As the World Bank recognized in its April 2003 report on Global Development Finance, remittances sent home by migrant workers reached $80 billion in 2002, up from $60 billion in 1998. These payments have become more important and stable sources of finance for developing countries than private lending or official development assistance.

Countries receiving large remittances include Bangladesh ($2.1 billion in 2001), Egypt ($2.9 billion), India ($10 billion), Indonesia ($1 billion), Jordan ($2 billion), Lebanon ($2.3 billion), Morocco ($3.3 billion), Pakistan ($1.5 billion), the Philippines ($6.4 billion), Sri Lanka ($1.1 billion) and Yemen ($1.5 billion).

But despite their economic significance to both their home countries and the societies in which they work, many migrant workers suffer from discrimination, exploitation and abuse.

Migrants, including large numbers of women employed as domestic servants, face intimidation and violence - including sexual assault - at the hands of employers, supervisors, sponsors, and police and security forces. Intimidated by violence or the threat of it, workers are often afraid to demand unpaid wages, protest poor conditions, or seek legal recourse for abuses. In all the Gulf states, laws and regulations either prohibit or restrict migrants' participation in independent trade union activities.

Sponsors and employers often confiscate migrants' documents, including passports and residence permits. This severely restricts freedom of movement and limits migrants' ability to report mistreatment to authorities without risking arrest, imprisonment, steep fines and summary expulsion. Migrants in the GCC states typically cannot obtain an exit visa to leave the country of employment without the approval of their sponsor or employer; arbitrary denials of exit visas can place migrants in situations that amount to forced labor.

Migrants in undocumented or "irregular" situations are among the most vulnerable. Recruiters in their home countries traffic migrants en masse, promising them jobs and salaries that never materialize. These workers have often paid recruiters significant sums to secure what they believed were legally enforceable contracts and work visas. Deeply in debt and with no other options once they arrive, they have little choice but to work for local sponsors or employers under highly exploitative conditions that effectively amount to forced labor or servitude.

Documented migrants can easily slip into illegal status through no fault of their own. Unscrupulous employers and sponsors deliberately let residence permits expire, or literally sell workers to other employers, thereby invalidating their work permits. Desperate migrants also flee terrible working conditions and end up outside the law.

Children are especially vulnerable to labor and sexual exploitation and denial of basic rights, whether traveling alone or with family members. In several Gulf countries children are trafficked for use as beggars, and sometimes suffer terrible maiming to improve their moneymaking potential. In Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, and U.A.E. young boys are trafficked from South Asia and Sudan for use as camel jockeys, at great risk to their lives and health. Children who migrate with their families often find that discriminatory legislation make them ineligible or unable to afford basic health care and education.

The U.A.E., with its October through April racing season, is the main destination for children trafficked for camel racing; in July 2003 Unicef estimated the number trafficked to U.A.E. alone to be in the thousands. U.A.E. has vowed to crackdown on the use of children under fifteen years or forty-five kilograms as jockeys but enforcement appears to be limited to repatriating children whose handlers apply for visa renewals. A group of twenty-one boys age six to twelve-years deported to Pakistan in May 2003 reportedly told Pakistan's Lawyers for Human Rights and Legal Aid that they had been working as jockeys for as long as five years before their deportations, and had suffered sexual abuse, denial of food, and severe beatings.

This year saw an important step forward with the entry into force of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families. The Migrant Workers Convention has now been ratified by 22 states - Azerbaijan, Belize, Bolivia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cape Verde, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Mexico, Morocco, the Philippines, Senegal, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Uganda and Uruguay - but has yet to be widely adopted by many wealthy and industrialized countries that depend heavily on migrant labor.

The Migrant Workers Convention guarantees the full range of internationally recognized human rights to all migrant workers and their families, including the right to life, the right to not be subjected to torture or other forms of ill-treatment, the right to due-process of law, and the right to freedom of movement, association, expression, and religion. It guarantees to migrants and their families "effective protection by the State against violence, physical injury, threats and intimidation, whether by public officials or by private individuals, groups or institutions."

Many states seem reluctant to adopt the Migrant Workers Convention for fear that it will somehow privilege migrants, particularly those with "irregular" status. But the Migrant Workers Convention only reinforces human rights standards to which the same states are usually committed under other treaties. It recognizes the serious worldwide problem of migrants without legal status and, while seeking to protect them from exploitation, calls for cooperation among states parties to prevent and eliminate such "illegal or clandestine movements and employment." The Convention also grants broad latitude to states to maintain their own policies with respect to immigration, and requires migrant workers "to comply with the laws and regulations of any State of transit and the State of employment," and "to respect the cultural identity of the inhabitants of such States."

The World Bank has recognized that increasing labor mobility is a priority for poverty reduction and economic development in many countries. But these important reforms need to be accompanied by effective measures for the protection of migrant workers from exploitation and abuse.

In this regard, the Bank can play an important role in encouraging countries to adopt and implement the protections contained in the Migrant Workers Convention. The Bank should address the problems experienced by migrant workers in its dialogue with governments as an obstacle to poverty reduction and development. It should help governments with the proper regulation of migration and employment agencies to ensure migrants' interests are protected. And it can strengthen the capacity of governments to combat trafficking and punish the private agents and employers involved in exploitation or abuse.

The Bank should also lend its support to international calls, including by the UN Secretary General, for an international conference on migration and development, to help the international community address these issues in a more comprehensive and effective manner.

We thank you for your attention to this important issue and wish you a very successful meeting.

Yours sincerely,

Kenneth Roth
Executive Director
Human Rights Watch

25 September, 2005 11:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is Kenneth Roth the same person who wrote "Snow white and the Seven Dwarf"???

Just wondering! because the both fairy stories sound from a similiar writer.

25 September, 2005 16:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although I don't want my comeback to start off with what may sound like antagonism, I do vote for the banning of balushi. This blog has been a rather entertaining and at times inspiring read. I would rather it is not ruined by consistent idiocy.

25 September, 2005 17:47  
Blogger secretdubai said...

>> I do vote for the banning of balushi

The problem is that it's not possible to ban any one person, unless all Anon comments are disabled. And AFAIK that would not prevent an Anon person from registering and being unable to post.

Unlike LiveJournal, where you can enable Friends Only commenting.

25 September, 2005 19:06  
Blogger black feline said...

secret dubai,

I think IT has done no wrong to warrant any banning at all..dont get me wrong..its no about turn..IT can be irritating but bearable really..and when hes not drunk he does talk sense..this topic on children is very apt isnt it? ALL must be given equal chance..normal, handicapped or otherwise. It takes all sort to make the world go the self righteous one..kindly refrain from inciting us to vote IT out..

25 September, 2005 22:16  
Blogger secretdubai said...

I just wish he would get a blog of his own - because he has a lot to say, and time to say it - and much would be better expressed in his own webspace.

I appreciate all comments here, so don't want anyone banned - other regular commenters have gone on to set up their own blogs too, so it would be nice if balushi could as well.

25 September, 2005 22:31  

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