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3 workers died building Dubai Expo, officials admit

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Three workers died and more than 70 sustained serious injuries while building the grounds for Expo 2020 in Dubai, officials say, while insisting that safety standards are “world class”.

The figures come after the European Parliament called for a boycott of the six-month World’s Fair and criticized the United Arab Emirates’ human rights record and “inhuman” practices against immigrant workers.

More than 200,000 workers built the huge site on the outskirts of Dubai, which features hundreds of pavilions and other facilities in an exhibition space twice the size of Monaco.

The United Arab Emirates and the Gulf state of Qatar, which will host next year’s soccer World Cup, are often in the crosshairs of activist groups for their treatment of workers, often from South Asia, who are building their ambitious developments.

“Unfortunately, there have been three work-related deaths and 72 serious injuries so far,” said an Expo statement that called workers’ welfare a “top priority.”

It is said that 247 million man hours were worked at the site, adding that the accident rate was lower than the UK.

“We have established first-class guidelines, standards and processes that protect and support the health, safety and well-being of everyone involved in Expo 2020 Dubai,” the statement said.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who is visiting the Expo today, says France is “not part” of the European Parliament resolution.

“Our relationship with the UAE is strategic, it is very close and we can say things in complete transparency, and if we have to say something to the UAE government, we do it, but behind closed doors,” he told reporters.


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