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Human Rights Watch: Louvre and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Must Prevent Labor Abuses

Model of Jean Nouvel’s Louvre Abu Dhabi
In two articles just posted on its website, Human Rights Watch targeted the Louvre and the Guggenheim in reiterating concerns about labor abuses affecting construction workers in Abu Dhabi. Gulf News reports that the Jean Nouvel-designed Louvre Abu Dhabi (above) “will shortly enter its design and engineering phase….A 10-member delegation of French ministry officials and representatives from museums and five top cultural institutions” recently visited Abu Dhabi to discuss the plans.
Human Rights News, an HRW publication, describes here and here the watchdog group’s concerns. Below is an excerpt from the report on the Louvre. The Guggenheim’s tracks the same language:
Human Rights Watch in February 2007 sent the French government and the Louvre Museum [and the director and chairman of the Guggenheim] private letters highlighting its concerns about the exploitation of migrant workers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and underscoring the legal obligations to respect the rights of workers there, but to date has not received a reply….
Specifically, Human Rights Watch urges the Louvre to require that its UAE partners not withhold workers’ wages, not confiscate passports, document and publicly report work-related injuries and deaths, and forbid recruiters from unlawfully collecting recruiting, travel and visa fees from workers. The Louvre should establish an independent and transparent oversight committee to monitor labor practices at the Abu Dhabi Louvre. In addition, the French government should ensure that the Louvre and its UAE partners are taking these important labor rights measures and urge authorities in the UAE, which is a member of the International Labour Organization, to ensure workers’ rights to bargain collectively, form unions and strike.

CultureGrrl addressed the human rights issues concerning migrant construction workers in Abu Dhabi here and here.

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