A new report conducted by two international rights groups has documented shocking testimonies of hundreds of African workers who said they faced arbitrary arrest, torture and forcibly deportation from Abu Dhabi.
The report was carried out by ImpACT International for Human Rights Policies and the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor.
According to the testimonies, 700 African workers had their lives turned upside down by overnight arrests, racist abuse, and unjustified deportations.
The document interviewed more than 100 migrant workers from various African countries, mostly Uganda, Cameroon and Nigeria.
Most of whom were in possession of documents confirming their legal right to be present in the UAE. They also hold residency and work visas valid for months or years.
According to the findings, Abu Dhabi’s Rapid Intervention Forces (SWAT), Criminal Investigation Department and police carried out mass arrests.
According to testimonies, SWAT personnel used excessive force, breaking doors of apartments and rooms. During the raid, they used tasers, beating and handcuffing them, and subjecting them to verbal abuse.
The vast majority of those interviewed have faced various forms of violation of their rights. The reported violations included sexual harassment, racial discrimination and insults.
“It is horrific that the UAE authorities appear to be conducting a secret campaign of mass arrests of African migrants, without any clear legal basis for such arrests or detention,” one of the interviewed workers added.
Furthermore, he said guards scanned his fingerprints and retinas without explanation, chained his hands and feet for three days. They also imitated the sound of a couple having sex, asking if he had ever heard that noise at La Gym.
The two groups said they sought clarification from the UAE interior ministry on the reasons behind the arrests and deportations. However, they received no response.