26 January 2006

More Protests - This Time It's The Women

After a series of protests by building workers and taxi drivers over work issues it's now the turn of Emirati women to make their voices heard. Popular democracy?

23 Emirati women staged a protest yesterday at the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, according to Gulf News, to complain about the curtailment of their rights after marrying non-nationals. Their main complaint was the fact that their social security payments of 1000 Dirhams had been cut because they were married to working expatriates, despite the fact that some of the husbands were unemployed and some earned as little as 1500 Dirhams.

National women who marry foreigners lose their right to citizenship, their children are not Emirati citizens and therefore have no rights to healthcare, schooling and free university education, as well as other benefits UAE nationals normally enjoy. Children from these marriages can apply for a five year UAE passport, but have to give up the right to their father's nationality. These passports can't be renewed, leaving these children virtually stateless. These restrictions don't apply to National men who marry foreign women.

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