DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (WNN) – Dubai’s Expo 2020 acknowledged on Saturday that five workers were killed at the site during the construction of the world’s largest fair, revealing for the first time the overall statistics of worker deaths .
The expo previously stated that its 200,000 workers who built the site worked approximately 240 million hours in its construction. It had not previously offered any aggregate figures on workers’ deaths.injury or coronavirus infection, despite repeated requests from the Associated Press and other journalists.
The admission comes after the European Parliament last month urged the United Arab Emirates not to participate in the expo, citing “inhuman treatment against foreign workers” that had worsened during the pandemic. The proposal states that before the expo, businesses and construction companies “command workers to sign unrelated documents, confiscate their passports, expose them to excessive working hours in unsafe weather conditions, and provide them with unhygienic housing.” forcing it.”
At a news conference a day after the event’s opening, expo spokesman Schonde McGatchin claimed that information on fatalities was previously available but not detailed. WNN had earlier repeatedly sought information and there was no response from the expo.
She also said that officials would provide more details on casualties at a later, unspecified time.
McGatchin also acknowledged that officials were aware of cases involving “withholding passports” from contractors and suspicious “recruiting practices” at the site and workplace safety breaches.
“We have taken steps to ensure that they are looked after and that there is a lot of interference in matters,” she said without elaborating.
The UAE, an oil-rich Sheikhdom that relies on low-wage migrant workers from Africa, Asia and Arab countries to keep its economy humming, has long faced criticism from human rights groups for treating those workers poorly. have to do. But officials have struggled to project a positive image for the expo, the world’s first fair in the Middle East that seeks to showcase Dubai’s pride and attract millions of foreign visitors.
Workers in the UAE are barred from unionization and have few protections, often working long hours for low wages and living in substandard conditions.
Dubai’s early autumn heat proved dangerous even for site visitors on early FridayOf course, some tourists faint in the 40 °C (104 °F) humid weather.