5th ISBMUN Conference
Day 1 : Issues concerning Labour Migration in the Arab States
The oil boom in the Arab States led to a huge demand for migrant workers, in order to increase industrial development. In fact, according to the ILO, the ratio of migrants to local workers is the highest in these regions. Although these workers have significantly contributed towards the rapidly increasing economic and industrial growth of these regions, there is a much graver issue at hand.
Many workers migrate to the Arab states with hopes of earning a steady income to support their families. But when they do arrive, they are faced with a much starker reality. There are many reported cases of abuse and discrimination, which include but are not limited to long working hours, unpaid salaries, unsanitary working conditions, and confiscation of passports.
The varied versions of the Kafala system implemented in some of these States have also been a significant contributor towards this issue. Tying a workers legal right to reside in the country to their job contracts, this system assigns their employer with a legal right over their employees. This in turn leads to exploitation and severe harassment of workers, with little to no legal consequences faced by their employers.
The inadequate, and sometimes misinformed data on this issue makes it difficult to solve the issue fully. Despite the pledges taken by certain States to amend the Kafala system and their labour laws, a much stronger response is needed. Keeping in mind the many perspectives on this glaring issue, the council is required to make a balanced decision.
Day 2 : Gender Equality in Arab Nations
According to the 2018 report of the World Economic Forum, the Arab States face a daunting, yet imperative challenge - closing the gender gap. Defined as the difference between women and men as reflected in social, political, intellectual, cultural, or economic attainments and attitudes, the Arab States have a gender disparity of nearly 40% as compared to the rest of the world.
It is no secret that gender inequality is a global issue. However, the disparity in the Arab States is a necessary challenge that needs to be overcome. Reports from the ILO show that these States have the lowest female economic participation in the world, with a meagre 26% of women in the workforce. The patriarchal system in these regions ensures that the odds are stubbornly stacked against women, and reduces their role in society to mere caretakers and childbearers. The job market also ensures further discrimination against women, with their male counterparts earning nearly 20-40% more than them, even in female-dominated professions. However, the problem doesn’t just end there, as women are often subject to harassment and discrimination in all walks of life.
These issues are well-known, yet remain unresolved. The States must take further steps to resolve this disparity, and bridge the gap.