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Dubai’s ugly mass expulsion of Africans

Nigerian expats face difficulties in the UAE

Dubai’s ugly mass expulsion of Africans

The arbitrary and discriminatory labour and immigration policies of the United Arab Emirates towards Nigerian citizens, as well as the mass expulsion of Nigerians from the country, serves as a stark reminder that the UAE is unapologetically authoritarian and defiant of international norms on human rights.

Visa rules stipulate as of 2021 that no Nigerian men under the age of 30 will be granted work visas in the UAE, and untold hundreds have been forcefully detained in raids over the past year and expelled from the country. As recently as last month, the UAE was continuing to round up young Nigerian men and conduct mass deportations; even though many of the men had entered the UAE via employment agencies which promised to secure them jobs. The policies have ensnared not only Nigerians, but Ghanaians and Ugandans as well. They have had their bank accounts closed, existing visas revoked, and rental contracts nullified.

Allegedly, the hiring restrictions and expulsions were a response to criminal acts committed by individual Nigerians; however, crimes are committed in the UAE by every nationality, every race, and every colour; yet similar polices have not been imposed upon others. “If an individual commits a crime,” said Radha Stirling, CEO of Due Process International, “That individual should be arrested, charged, and prosecuted; their entire community should not be blamed or held accountable and penalized. The UAE has essentially criminalised all Nigerian men under 30, characterising the entire population as menaces to society. One can only imagine the outrage such a policy would elicit were it to be imposed in the UK, yet the UAE can continue to present itself as a beacon of tolerance and modernity in the Middle East. With the stroke of a pen, the Ruler of the UAE can have hundreds of innocent people rounded up, thrown in prison, and expelled from the country, all because they are the wrong nationality, the wrong age, the wrong sex, and the wrong colour. International law prohibits arbitrary and collective expulsions, but in the Emirates, the Ruler is a law unto himself, and Western nations appear indifferent to this despotism. Tourists and expats of all nationalities should bear this in mind, and be aware that they enjoy no guaranteed rights or protections in the UAE, and that their own governments are unlikely to defend them against abuse or wrongful detention.”


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