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We believe that a Passport is a personal property of the person whose name and photo appears in it.  As it is issued by the person’s government, that person is duty-bound to take care that his Passport is not tampered, lost, or otherwise defaced.

In international law and the plight of migrant workers, a Passport is a conditio sine qua non to one’s exercise of right to travel guaranteed by no less than The Declaration.  Although right to travel may be restricted by domestic laws, withholding a person’s passport without a court order for confiscation or a valid governmental regulation for retention of the same effectively undermines a person’s right to travel, liberty and right to property.

The Campaign seeks to aid the UAE authorities in its efforts of maintaining peace and order and the rule of law.

The Campaign believes that unlawful retention, confiscation or withholding of Passports results directly or indirectly to forced labour.

The Campaign believes that it likewise results into a form of arbitrary detention of the worker to the corners of his employer’s place of work.

The Campaign seeks to help employers understand and respect the worker’s right over their Passports and thereby build a lasting reciprocal trust and confidence imbued with compliance with international standards and human rights recognition towards a more peaceful, fruitful and meaningful employer-employee relationship.  Download “Combating Forced Labour – A Handbook for Employers & Business.”

The legal bases of the Campaign are as follows –

According to the Holy Qur’an

Do not deprive people of what is rightfully theirs. – Qur’an, 7:85

According to the UAE Constitution

Article 20

Society shall esteem work as a cornerstone of its development. It shall endeavour to ensure that employment is available for citizens and to train them so that they are prepared for it. It shall furnish the appropriate facilities for that by providing legislations protecting the rights of the employees and the interests of the employers in the light of developing international labour legislations.

Article 21

Private property shall be protected. Conditions relating thereto shall be laid down by Law. No one shall be deprived of his private property except in circumstances dictated by the public benefit in accordance with the provisions of the Law and on payment of a just compensation.

Article 24

The basis of the national economy shall be social justice.

Article 25

All persons are equal before the law, without distinction between citizens of the Union in regard to race, nationality, religious belief or social status.

Article 34

xxx No person may be subjected to forced labour except in exceptional circumstances provided for by the law and in return for compensation.

No person may be enslaved.

Article 39

General confiscation of property shall be prohibited. Confiscation of an individual’s possessions as a penalty may not be inflicted except by a court judgement in the circumstances specified by law.

Article 40

Foreigners shall enjoy, within the Union, the rights and freedom stipulated in international charters which are in force or in treaties and agreements to which the Union is party. They shall be subject to the corresponding obligations.

Article 41

Every person shall have the right to submit complaints to the competent authorities, including the judicial authorities. concerning the abuse or infringement of the rights and freedom stipulated in this Part.

According to UAE Courts

“[I]t is not permitted for an employer to confiscate the passport of an employee and prevent him from his natural right to travel and move whatever the nature of the relationship that ties them together.” ~ Dubai Court of Cassation, Case # 268 (2001), October 27, 2001.

“Confiscating passports violates the right to freedom of movement and is prohibited by UAE law.”  ~ Dubai Court of Cassation, Appeal No. 301-2003, February 28, 2004.

According to UAE Laws, Rules and Regulations

PENAL CODE. Article 382 -Theft occurs by illegal appropriation movable property owned by a person other than the offender..

PENAL CODE. Article 398 – Whoever obtains from another by way of threat to hand over money or things other than those mentioned in the preceding article shall be sanctioned to detention and to a fine.

Ministry of Interior Dec. 25, 2002 Circular – “As the passport is a personal document that the law obliges its owner to keep and show when required by the governmental authorities, it is not allowed for any party to detain the passport except by the official parties with a judicial order and according to the law. Consequently it will be considered as an illegal action to detain the passport in UAE except by the governmental parties. So please announce this to all of your parties. In case of retaining passports there will be a suitable punishment by the law of UAE.”

According to the International Conventions Ratified by the UAE

1930 Convention on Forced Labour 

1957 Abolition of Forced Labour Convention