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Transcript of Dubai Development
Oil God Concrete Dubai has undergone massive development in the last twenty years alone. The monarch has invested billions into Dubai to make it the 'play ground of the UAE'. The brain drain created by the billion dollar development projects - such as the word's biggest mall, or the tallest buildings- have been compared the the Californian goldrush. And like the wildwest, cheap labor and prostitution is rampant. This canvas explored the finer points of the effects the development of Dubai has had on its citizen's its expatriates, its migrant workers, and the Global Village. Prostitution and its reprecussion on society and women. Totalitarianism in the 21st century- has the control been good for Dubai? Such magnificent buildings whose marble floors will be stood on by their makers Are they playing ? Building a paradise out of the desert, complete with a indoor ski resort? Map of UAE The Draw of Dubai
"Las Vegas is a sputtering 20-watt bulb compared with this fire in the desert," wrote Vanity Fair's Nick Tosches last year, in his hyperbolic piece on the explosive and unprecedented growth in Dubai.
For a predominantly Muslim state in the Middle East, comparisons with the United States' own Sin City might seem odd, but with development plans that include an amusement park three times the size of Manhattan, an exact replica of the Eiffel Tower, a golf course designed by Tiger Woods and a resort owned by Donald Trump, they are hard to avoid. Often held up as a gleaming example of Western modernity in the conservative Gulf States, Dubai remains an economic and cultural anomaly in the region -- a tolerant society that welcomes foreigners, constantly recreates itself and relies more on tourism than oil for its revenues.
As one of the seven emirates to make up the United Arab Emirates, Dubai is ruled by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum generally considered the architect of Dubai's economic success and diversification away from an oil-based economy. He has instituted numerous measures to attract foreign business, such as tax-free imports and exports, no corporate taxes for up to 30 years and the ability to operate under 100 percent foreign ownership (as opposed to being forced to partner with local firms). So unlike other Gulf States in this oil-rich region, revenues from petroleum and natural gas make up only a small percentage of Dubai's gross domestic product.
Map of Dubai
The United Arab Emirates and surrounding countries.
In recent years, Dubai has come under increased scrutiny after unprecedented labor disputes and reports of human rights abuses against its large foreign worker population -- those responsible for construction of the city's many luxury developments. Of Dubai's 1.5 million residents, almost 85 percent are foreigners, with approximately 500,000 working as laborers. A Human Rights Watch report in 2006 described their living and working conditions as "less than human." The workers -- most of whom come from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan -- live primarily in desert labor camps outside the city where they pack up to a dozen people into single rooms.
The foreign workers often come to Dubai deeply in debt to recruiters, after paying them nearly a year's salary to secure jobs and then arriving to find wages significantly less than promised. Also, employers hold their passports and workers must ask permission to leave their jobs.
The prevalence of prostitution has brought some negative reaction from abroad as well, but news outlets routinely dismiss it as a result of the 3-to-1 ratio of men to women and the city's devotion to nurturing the tourism and hospitality industries. The U.S. State Department includes the United Arab Emirates on its Watch List for human trafficking and estimates that up to 10,000 women from Asia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East are involuntarily forced into prostitution. The number of voluntary participants in the sex trade, though illegal, is believed to be much higher. When 7Days, an English-language daily in Dubai, reported that 4,300 prostitutes were deported in 2006, some Dubai residents wrote in to say that this figure was a fraction of the total number of women working as prostitutes. One reader wrote that when "4,300 leave the country ... another 5,000 come in."
The general approval of Western principles combined with unregulated development in Dubai, including the tacit acceptance of prostitution, has prompted a growing debate over the area's cultural identity. In 2006, during Ramadan, 7Days published an editorial titled "Show Some Respect," complaining of women showing too much flesh in public. Scholars and journalists from both sides took up the debate, which grew into an argument over tradition versus modernity and how much of Dubai's long-standing cultural beliefs would ultimately be lost to this laissez-faire economy.
Sources: The Washington Post, The New York Times, ABC News, Newsweek, Vanity Fair, Wired, Columbia Journalism Review and BBC. The Draw of Dubai impact Read the Transcript
This text below is a phonetic transcript of a radio story broadcast by PRI’s THE WORLD. It has been created on deadline by a contractor for PRI. The transcript is included here to facilitate internet searches for audio content. Please report any transcribing errors to firstname.lastname@example.org. This transcript may not be in its final form, and it may be updated. Please be aware that the authoritative record of material distributed by PRI’s THE WORLD is the program audio.
MARCO WERMAN: It was nice and warm in the city of Dubai today. The temperature reached 99 degrees, but it’s a dry heat. And if you can’t take even dry heat, there are ways to escape it, even though the rest of the emirate is mostly desert. Correspondent Jake Warga tells us about the connection the people of Dubai have with their desert.
JAKE WARGA: Entering the Burj Dubai Mall, the largest in the world, under now the largest building in the world, is like walking inside a brand new refrigerator, complete with an ice rink. The only reminder of where I am, in the Middle East, is when the mall music becomes a call to prayer. So what happened to the desert, or the idea of the desert? I went to the Sheik Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding to, well, understand the culture. This is . . .
FEMALE VOICE 1: I’m – - .
WARGA: She’s an Emirati, a local.
FEMALE VOICE 1: Most people used to live in the desert and they moved inland when development started.
WARGA: The city seems, almost rudely insulated from the desert. And as the city grew to escape the desert, the desert is now where the people go to escape the city.
FEMALE VOICE 1: Today, it’s just the place that you go to on a weekend maybe, or only during the winter season. So the desert has turned into a commercial element, especially when it comes to visitors to the country.
WARGA: There are a variety of desert activities on offer. Most popular is dune bashing.
MUSTAFA: Dune bashing going ups and downs and sidewards, it’s like a roller coaster ride.
WARGA: Mustafa is with Lama Tours. We’ve driven out of the city to see the desert, but we’re not the only ones. I’ve never seen so many ATV’s and land cruisers actually cruising the land. Okay, it was kind of fun until I vomited. But I noticed another tourist doing the same.
MUSTAFA: Once they throw up, the stomach is clean; they are ready to do it again.
WARGa: Sure the desert treats people rough, but people have not treated the desert very well either. Just beyond where we were dune bashing is Al Maha, one of the top resorts in the world. It’s also a desert reserve, no dune bashing allowed.
ARNE SILVIS: Conservation in this country is relatively new.
WARGA: Arne Silvis is the resort’s General Manager.
SILVIS: It’s a foreign concept to most people and we struggle to educate people and to make them aware of the absolute need for conservation.
WARGA: At 225 square kilometers, 4.6% of Dubai’s total land area, Al Maha is the largest reserve in the country and it’s inspiring others. Al Maha is Oryx in Arabic, named after an animal, a kind of antelope that after four wheel trucks were introduced was hunted to extinction. The Oryx became the first successful reintroduction of a species into the wild; first in Oman, then here.
GREG SIMPKINS: The Oryx you can bring back. Some things you can’t.
WARGA: Greg Simpkins is Al Maha’s Conservation Manager. We’re standing on the sand surrounded by the sand, but because of conservation efforts, new grass and foliage dots the land. A hundred years ago this area was tall grass. It’s man that helped create the desert. Bringing back the ecological past also helps bring back the cultural past, rediscovering practices that were lost with time.
SIMPKINS: The culture sits with them as a people, and that’s their responsibility and they’re the only ones that can preserve it in its true sense. We can preserve things about it. I don’t think it’ll ever go back to how it was; we’re talking 100 years ago, the nomadic lifestyle. I don’t see that ever happening.
WARGA: Unless the economy seriously tanks, people are not about to exchange cars for camels or townhomes for tents, but certain traditions are being preserved and modernized. The traditional activity of falconry, for example, almost disappeared in the area along with the birds themselves. Once a traditional hunting practice, it’s now a revived cultural desert sport.
NEVEL: This is Kakoo and this is Heretic.
WARGA: Nevel, one of Al Maha’s guides, is balancing Heretic on his arm, demonstrating how they used to hunt with the birds.
NEVEL: It started in the area about 2,000 years ago with the Bedouin people.
WARGA: Many locals now take great pride in their birds and the history that comes with them, but at modern prices.
NEVEL: Nowadays falconry is purely a status symbol. Prices can range from twenty-three thousand dollars to over a quarter of a million dollars for a falcon.
WARGA: Before leaving Dubai, I went to the top of the world’s tallest building, reaching over 2,700 feet away from the desert. It’s surrounded by artificial lagoons, water displays and completely paved landscape. I realized that the desert is the past and how they treat it, how they choose to preserve it is, in a way, preserving a culture. Come sunset, the lights of Dubai look like a giant fallen chandelier and although we were surrounded by it, stood on it, I can no longer see the desert anywhere. For The World, I’m Jake Warga, Dubai.
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Dubai: Migrant Workers at Risk
September 18, 2003
The World Bank knows that migrants are key to economic development, but they're not paying attention to the dark side of that issue. The Bank should be leading the way in international efforts to protect them from exploitation and abuse.
Rory Mungoven Global Advocacy Director of Human Rights Watch
The World Bank should help end the exploitation and abuse of migrant workers in the Persian Gulf and beyond, Human Rights Watch said as the international financial institution prepares to hold its annual meetings in Dubai.
In a letter to President Jim Wolfensohn, Human Rights Watch called on the World Bank to champion an international convention for the protection of migrants that recently entered into force.
The Migrant Workers Convention guarantees migrants' human rights and promises state protection against abuse by employers, agents and public officials. The convention has been ratified by 22 states, but has yet to be adopted by many wealthy countries that depend heavily on migrant labor.
"The World Bank knows that migrants are key to economic development, but they're not paying attention to the dark side of that issue," said Rory Mungoven, global advocacy director for Human Rights Watch. "The Bank should be leading the way in international efforts to protect them from exploitation and abuse."
Nearly ten million foreigners, most of them unskilled or semi-skilled migrants, work in Gulf states. Migrants comprise some 90 percent of the 1.7 million workers in the United Arab Emirates, where the World Bank will hold its meetings.
Remittances sent home by migrant workers reached $80 billion in 2002, up from $60 billion in 1998. These payments have become more important sources of finance for developing countries than private lending or official development assistance. In 2001, these payments were worth $10 billion to India, $6 billion to the Philippines and more than $2 billion to Bangladesh, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Morocco.
Despite their value 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. Children are especially vulnerable to labor and sexual exploitation and denial of basic rights.
"Thousands of children are trafficked to the United Arab Emirates for use as beggars and camel jockeys," Mungoven said. "The World Bank can't claim to fight child labor in poor countries and then turn a blind eye when it crosses borders."
Sponsors and employers often confiscate migrants' documents, including passports and residence permits, restricting their freedom of movement and ability to report mistreatment. Migrants in the Gulf states typically can't obtain an exit visa without the approval of their sponsor or employer, sometimes placing them in situations that amount to forced labor.
Migrants in undocumented or "irregular" situations are often indebted to traffickers, and have little choice but to work under highly exploitative conditions . Documented migrants can easily slip into illegal status when unscrupulous employers and sponsors deliberately let residence permits expire, or literally sell workers to other employers, thereby invalidating their work permits.
Human Rights Watch called on the World Bank to encourage states that send or receive migrants to adopt and implement the protections contained in the Migrant Workers Convention. The Bank could help governments regulate migration and employment agencies to combat trafficking, exploitation and abuse.
To read Human Rights Watch's letter to World Bank President James Wolfensohn, please see: http://hrw.org/press/2003/09/migrant091803-ltr.htm
Dubai: Migrant Workers at Risk Have you ever wondered what is the effect of the development in ? Dubai Go into Dubai to find out!