13,000 'single men' evicted from 'family neighbourhoods' in Sharjah

13,000 'single men' evicted from 'family neighbourhoods' in Sharjah
Thousands of men, most of who are migrant workers, have been evicted from their homes, in some cases with little warning.
2 min read
08 March, 2021
The UAE is often criticised for its treatment of migrant workers [Getty-file photo]

Police in the UAE are clamping down on migrant workers living in family neighbourhoods, forcing thousands from their homes, and into an uncertain future.

As many as 13,000 "single men" have been evicted from family neighbourhoods in Sharjah since September 2020, according to The National.

The move by authorities was reportedly prompted by a phone call made by an Emirati women to The Direct Line, a local radio station, who complained about the number of single men living in the neighbourhood. 

"There are a large number of workers living in the neighbourhood in the Qadisiyah area, which is designated for families, however workers spread among the buildings and dwellings, in a way that poses a threat to the families residing in there," said the caller.

The woman's complaints were heard by Sharjah's ruler Sultan bin Muhammad Al-Qasimi, a regular listener to the show, who then ordered that single men be removed from the family neighbourhoods. 

The term single men is used by Emiratis to describe men, frequently from foreign countries, who do not live with their families. Many are low-paid foreign workers who have travelled from India or Pakistan, who live in overcrowded and sub-standard accommodation. 

Since the order was issued, thousands of eviction notices have been handed out and authorities have cut water and electricity to the buildings as a means of forcing the men to leave. 

"So far, we have carried out 3,000 inspections that resulted in the eviction of 13,000 illegal tenants and bachelors from several family districts in the emirate including Maysaloon, Al-Qadisiya, and Al-Nasserya," said Thabet Al-Traifi, head of Sharjah Municipality.

"Inspections were expanded to include residential towers in several areas of the emirate, during which many irregularities were detected," he added.

Workers who have been evicted have complained that they were given no notice and no time to  prepare, a claim which was denied by Sharjah Municipality. 

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"The municipality is issuing violation notices to the landlords and tenants who have been sub-letting their accommodations to bachelors and workers in clear breach of the Emirate's laws," said the municipality in a statement to The National in 2020. 

It is not clear where the evicted men will live, but a similar eviction campaign in 2018 resulted in hundreds of men being forced to sleep on the streets. 

The UAE is frequently criticised for its poor treatment of migrant workers. 

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