Coronavirus: Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed says UAE will protect workers' rights amid pandemic

Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation stresses importance of supporting employees affected by pandemic

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation. Wam    
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Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed has reaffirmed the UAE's commitment to protecting the rights of workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation said the Emirates was doing its utmost to support workers, no matter where they were from.

Sheikh Abdullah made his comments in a letter to Guy Ryder, director general of the International Labour Organisation.

He called on nations to stand together to battle the threats of Covid-19.

"The Covid-19 pandemic threatens the health, safety and welfare of all people around the world and necessitates a comprehensive global response addressing health, labour, the economy and human rights," Sheikh Abdullah said.

"The UAE firmly believes that the best way to address the pandemic is through international solidarity and global co-operation, and by ensuring the protection of labour, as well as the rights of all, irrespective of citizenship or immigration status."

The UAE Central Bank has introduced a US$27 billion (Dh99.15bn) economic support scheme to ease financial difficulties faced by businesses.

Sheikh Abdullah outlined measures to promote worker safety.

He said the UAE was collaborating with private-sector employers to provide protective equipment, ensure social distancing and encourage remote work, disinfect work facilities and issue mandatory certification before restarting economic activity.

The UAE government has also issued requirements for private sector workplaces, transport and accommodation during the pandemic, and is conducting inspections to ensure rules are adhered to.

An information centre for Covid-19 is available in Arabic, English, Urdu, Chinese, Hindi, Bengali and Tagalog.

And an outreach programme is continuing to provide information to workers on safety practices and healthcare options.

Sheikh Abdullah said the UAE government was bringing in initiatives to help those in most need, including the 10 Million Meals campaign led by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.

It also introduced the automatic renewal of work permits, free coronavirus testing and treatment for those who require it.