The Expo 2020 organization in Dubai has reduced the number of deceased construction workers from five to three. Earlier today, the organization behind the World Fair reported that five workers had died. That number was later rectified in a press release. Unknown is how the confusion could arise.
It was the first time fatalities statistics have been published. Previously, Expo 2020 acknowledged that more than 200,000 workers have spent around 240 million hours on construction. Despite repeated inquiries from abroad, no figures have been released on deaths, injuries or corona infections among workers to date.
The United Arab Emirates is largely dependent on low-paid migrant workers to keep the economy running. These migrants are mostly from other Arab countries, Africa and Asia.
Expo 2020, which started last Thursday after a year of postponement due to corona, has received a lot of criticism in recent months due to the conditions under which migrant workers had to work. Some construction companies seized passports and allowed them to work long hours in the desert climate. The European Parliament called on EU Member States and other countries last month not to participate in the Expo which will last March 31.
Millions of visitors
The organisation of the first ever world exhibition in the Middle East is dedicated to putting the exhibition in a positive light. Dubai hopes to attract millions of international visitors with the Expo.
A spokesman for the Expo acknowledged yesterday that authorities knew of cases where contractors withheld passports and were involved in suspicious recruitment practices and workplace safety violations. “Weve taken steps to ensure that those things are addressed,” she said.
There is also a Dutch pavilion at the Expo. The Dutch consul-general in Dubai Carel Richter stresses that working conditions were in order for the construction of the Dutch pavilion. “Careful research has been carried out on the conditions of the workforce, even at the hotels where they stayed.”