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UAE pays $19.5 million in 'blood money' to Bangladeshis Open in fullscreen

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UAE pays $19.5 million in 'blood money' to Bangladeshis

Foreign workers make up half of the UAE's population [Getty]

Date of publication: 26 February, 2016

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The United Arab Emirates has paid nearly $20m to families of those who have died while working in the Gulf state.
More than $19.5 million of "blood money" has been paid to Bangladeshi families who lost relatives while working in the UAE.

The Bangladeshi embassy to the UAE declared local courts had ordered more than 150milllion Bangladeshi Taka, or 7.5million Emirati Dirham, be paid out in 2015 alone.

So far, just 40 families of expat breadwinners who died in the Gulf state have been compensated, with 24 of these in 2014.

A 2013 bus crash in al-Ain left 21 foreign workers dead, 19 of whom were Bangladeshi.

Mohamed Nizam Dullah, who lost his brother-in-law in the accident, said his family received their pay out last year.

"My brother lost his life due to the mistakes of others," Dullah told The National, adding accidents could be prevented if rules were adhered to.

"Very frequently, bus drivers use mobile phones without earphones - a dangerous act to do behind the wheel."

Statistics show half of the UAE's population are foreign workers, mainly from South Asia.

Criticism of the government's treatment of foreign workers has long haunted the royals, prompting labour reforms to be implemented in January this year.

The reforms promise to dispose of the country's sponsorship system known locally as kafala, as well as looking at issues of low wages and housing.

Human rights campaigners frequently target Gulf states for their alleged negligence towards foreign workers.

Last year, Qatar received an international backlash when reports alleged migrant workers building the 2022 World Cup stadiums were dying at a rate of one every two days.

The investigation also revealed some were forced to work on the projects, with some being denied access to free drinking water while working under the desert sun.

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