World

Human Rights Watch: Labor abuse at Abu Dhabi site of Louvre, Guggenheim despite reforms

This 2009 image released by the Human Rights Watch, shows a laborer next a to Saadiyat Island advertising billboard in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Reforms enacted in the United Arab Emirates have not done enough to end the exploitation of migrant workers building a high-profile cultural complex that includes branches of the Louvre and the Guggenheim museums, a leading human rights group said Tuesday in a report that was immediately rejected by the government-backed developer. (AP Photo/Samer Muscati, Human Rights Watch)

This 2009 image released by the Human Rights Watch, shows a laborer next a to Saadiyat Island advertising billboard in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Reforms enacted in the United Arab Emirates have not done enough to end the exploitation of migrant workers building a high-profile cultural complex that includes branches of the Louvre and the Guggenheim museums, a leading human rights group said Tuesday in a report that was immediately rejected by the government-backed developer. (AP Photo/Samer Muscati, Human Rights Watch)  (The Associated Press)

Human Rights Watch says migrant workers building a prominent cultural complex that includes branches of the Louvre and the Guggenheim museums in the United Arab Emirates continue to face exploitation despite government reforms.

The New York-based rights group's report Tuesday acknowledged "positive steps" by Emirati authorities, including changes to a visa sponsorship system that links workers to their employers and the implementation of guidelines intended to improve working conditions.

The group says abuses it documented in two previous reports on Abu Dhabi's Saadiyat Island project nonetheless continue, though it is not possible to determine how widespread they are because of restrictions from Emirati authorities.

The government-backed Tourism Development and Investment Company behind the project rejected the report's "unfounded conclusions," calling them "outdated and based on unknown methodologies."